1898 - 1998 (100 years)
||Herbert Walter Crumpler |
||14 May 1898
||Hopman's Farm, Lytchett Matravers, Dorset [1, 2]
||HERBERT WALTER CRUMPLER |
14-2-1898 to 10-12-1998
'Herbie' was born in Lytchett Matravers, and subsquently died there. The Crumpler dynasty goes back nearly 400 years and many of the menfolk were farmers. His great-grandfather, Samuel, was gored to death by his own bull in 1849. 'Herbie' was a sickly boy and at one time was not expected to live, but after a long convalescence with a farmer uncle in Somerset he returned to his parents a much fitter lad. Though his speech was devoid of dialect, and was always courteous and genteel, he was nonetheless a very hardworking countryman. For a long period of his life he held down both his smallholding of some half a dozen cows, plus poultry, vegetables etc., and his 'daytime' job, cycling to the Naval Cordite Factory, Holton Heath, where his reputation for honest diligence was second to none.
In 1993 when Lytchett Red Triangle F.C. won 'the double,' we asked Herbie to present the Cups and Medals. He accepted readily and came with great aplomb, agile and genial, telling us that he was a founder-member of the Club in Season 1919/20 after returning from War Service on the Western Front with the Dorsets. He had been Hon. Secretary of the L.R.T., later Hon. Treasurer, and had played in the Team for several seasons.
Thereafter I met him or phoned him on many occasions, especially after his dear wife, Elsie, died a couple of years later. On 29th October, 1997, three months before his 100th birthday, I went up to see him just before 2.30 p.m., by prior arrangement. Fiercely independent, Herbie wouldn't quit 'Larkrise' (his bungalow) on any terms, so the occasional accident was inevitable.
As I pulled off Dolmans Hill to enter the private track leading to his home, an ambulance raced past me, blaring loudly. I followed quickly and stepped into 'Larkrise' just behind the ambulance crew. Herbie was flat on the floor, bleeding noticeably from a head wound, but talking straight away, apologising for the inconvenience to them, and to me! He appeared to be bothering not one jot about his bloodened head. They got him up, bandaged him, waited 15 minutes or so to ensure there was no further reaction, then left - with Herbie thanking them profusely. Son Robin came briefly to check that all was well; I offered to go, but he emphatically insisted that I stay. He was soon in full flow and I didn't get away till well after 5.30. He spoke about his early days, his childhood sicknesses, his Army service, his football, his farming and his work at Holton Heath.
One story I scribbled down concerned the day he joined-up, in 1915, aged 17. There were 174 recruits at Dorchester that day, and he was No. 171. After certain formalities they were marched unceremoniously to the Mess Room where they were sat on hard benches against rough old tables. Their meal comprised stodgy potatoes, hard peas, and an unappetising bully beef stew. A man next to Herbie bumped the server's arm which spilt the peas from his ladle on to the table. The Server immediately got hold of Herbie's mess tin and scooped the peas into it. "It was positively awful," said Herbie (his face quite contorted), "and I just couldn't stomach it." A ginger-haired farm labourer recruit from Lyme Regis, on his other side, golloped his down, briefly paused, then looked at Herbie's full mess tin.
"Don' ee loike it then?" he asked.
"I certainly do not," Herbie replied.
SLIGHT PAUSE. "Bain ee goinna eat it then?" he asked.
"No I am not!" came the emphatic reply.
SLIGHT PAUSE. "C'n oi eat it then?"
"You most certainly can!" he replied.
"And then," said Herbie delicately, "he slurped the lot down, elbows on table and belching," causing him to reel in disgust.
The stories went on and I was amazed at Herbie's uncanny memory and joie de vivre. On his 100th birthday, in February, 1998, the weather was beautiful and our Football Club arranged a little presentation at the Sports Pavilion, plus sandwiches, tea, photos, radio and newpaper interviews and the like. Herbie revelled in it. I attempted to dissuade him from staying the two more tiring hours to watch the match, but he would have none of it. We entertained Wareham, a more experienced Senior Side, and fought back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to a very creditable 2-2 draw. Herbie was well pleased. I did a brief poem for the occasion which we incorporated into our programme:
Herbie's reached his Century,
He's made his 'ton' today,
There's still some petrol in the tank,
We think he's here t' stay.
Four hundred years of Crumpler grit,
The longest group by far,
Have graced the village, made it tick,
And Herbie is the star.
Co-founder of our Lytchett Club,
A player for many years
since 1920, still not out,
It's worth a hundred cheers.
We're playing Wareham here today,
There're still some in the pub,
If they bain't yur by two o'clock
We'll put him down as 'Sub'.
Thanks for your presence and your smile,
You needed scant persuasion,
It makes us proud to stay the while
and share this GREAT OCCASION!
Footnote: In his 101st year, Herbie was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the French Government for services during the Great War.
||"With the onslaught on the First World War, Herbert was called up to serve his country. Joining the 4th Battalion of the Dorset Regiment, he left for France and was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment as a signaller. A sprightly Herbert, now 92 years of age, told the Purbeck Independent: 'I was ery lucky to get through the First World War unscathed, but nearly all of my friends I left Britain with were killed. It was very sad. I feel I must have a charmed life."  |
||10 Dec 1998
||Lytchett Matravers, Dorset, England
||15 Dec 1998
||Lytchett Matravers, Dorset, England
||Walsh - Wilson Family Tree
||1 Feb 2009 |
- [S02978] Correspondence with Tony Bull of Rockingham Western Australia Email Address: email@example.com.
Date of Import: 7 Aug 2001
- [S4982] Purbeck Independent Newspaper, 13 Jun 1990.
- [S4986] Beau Parke, A Darzit Voice, (http://www.lulu.com/content/232640), Page 80-81.
- [S4982] Purbeck Independent Newspaper, 13 Jun 1990 (Reliability: 3).