Christopher joined The Royal Norfolk Regiment, Cavalry division, and went out to India in 1942. He was in Khairabad 1942, Lahore 1943, Simla 1943, Dehradun and Jullunder 1945. He was posted to Egypt in charge of Horse Transport in 1946 and was there until the end of the war. He used to speak of Suez, Port Said and the building of The Suez Canal. Elizabeth arrived in Alexandria, Egypt and was a theatre sister at the Army hospital. Christopher was home on leave when she used to go riding at the stables and was dreading the Officer in charge returning in case this meant an end to her riding but.... A love story began.
Christopher Simmonds and Elizabeth Hesketh were married at St Jennifer's Church Tel-El-Kebir 17 January 1948 and their first child, David, was born in Egypt.
Christopher and Elizabeth continued their military service in Egypt and Palestine after the end of the 2nd World War as hostilities continued. On several occasions baby David was put under the bed in a carrycot during gun attacks on their army quarters. Christopher and Elizabeth came home at the end of 1949 and were stationed in South Wales. They bought a house in Wylye, near Salisbury where they were until Christopher left the army and they moved to be near Christopher's family in Bromham, Bedford. David started school in Bedford and Jane was born there but they soon moved to Abingdon on Thames, near Oxford, which was 'Home' until 1967. First at 43 Abbott Road and then The Old Stables, Wick Hall. Christopher suffered a heart attack around 1966 and was not fit enough to work for quite some time. At a suitable moment and when the opportunity arose Elizabeth accepted a job with accommodation and the family made the move to Hoyland House, Ifield, Near Crawley, Sussex.
It was Summer 1968. David had left school and was in London with BP, Sally was just off to Dartington Hall. Jane was at The Bush Davies Ballet School in East Grinstead (and hoping to dance her way around the world) and Vanessa, age eleven, was just off to St David's School, Ashford. Completely 'out of the blue' Christopher Simmonds was a beneficiary, along with his siblings and other members of the family, of the estates in Salisbury, of the late Henry Walter Simmonds and his sister Christina Katherine Simmonds. They had both died suddenly and intestate. It is rather a wonderful story that some of the proceeds of the bookshop their father Nathaniel Harrison had created should find its way back to his own children. It enabled Christopher and Elizabeth to return to Oxfordshire and they moved to Henley on Thames 'Before you could say Jack Robinson'. Christopher returned to work with Maples in Tottenham Court Road where he had worked before joining the army and Elizabeth became a matron of Everett House, Shiplake College, where she was very happy. When they had both retired they moved down to Felpham near to Elizabeth's childhood home, in West Sussex.
They were wonderful parents and devoted grandparents.
© 2020 Sally Linklater Custos Rotulorum.