homenextRecent meetings - reports by Maurice Box & Brian Gosling

The Men’s Association of Stanbridge and Tilsworth (MAST) promotes fellowship, entertainment and support of the local communities, meeting at 7.30 pm every third Wednesday of each month at Tilsworth Golf Centre.

Those interested in joining should contact chairman@mast.org.uk . Website www.mast.org.uk

MAST meeting 19th June 2024 - Tales from Wealdstone Police Station Part 2 by Michael Long

Michael Long again regaled the MAST audience at Tilsworth Golf Centre with some more of his recollections of his experiences as Station Officer at Wealdstone Police Station. Michael, a civilian working at this Metropolitan Police reception desk was, for many years, the first point of contact for members of the public reporting a plethora of incidents, occurrences and crimes from trivial to significant.

This time his talk was focussed on the antics which occurred behind the scenes which at times served to relieve some of the pressures of day to day policing. He recalled many stories of good humoured minor practical jokes that were often played on unsuspecting rookies which in fact illustrated potential real life situations and only added to their education and helped to hone their sense of awareness and realism.

Michael related stories ranging from the stray dog that was taken in by the police (remember those days?), only for it to leap through an open window, which turned out to be on the first floor (unexpected by the dog!), but ending happily with no injuries and recapture, to the burglar hiding in the wheelie bin.

He finished off with the first hand recollection of his frightening experience of the cycle thief apprehension late one night outside the police station and finally the infamous Lloyds Bank robbery in North Harrow (available on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evoFwqk1URg) and the successful Flying Squad operation catching the perpetrators in the act.

Maurice Box 19/06/2024

MAST meeting 15th May 2024 - The Russell Family of Woburn by Ann Ledger

The members of MAST who attended their monthly meeting held at the Tilsworth Golf Club on Wednesday 15th May, were treated to a fascinating insight to the Russell family of Woburn.

Ann Ledger our speaker for the evening gave a full and comprehensive insight to the history of how Woburn became the 11th Most Stately Home in the country, who knew history could be so interesting.

John Russell Born 1485 was created the earl of Bedford in 1549 in Edward V1's reign.

The title of Duke of Bedford has been held by the Russell family since 1694.

Lord William Russell born 1639 became a politician, was accused of supporting an attempt to exclude the future King James II from the throne and was executed for treason in 1683 but later pardoned due to not having committed any direct treasonous plot. This reinstated the families position in society.

Anna Maria Russell Duchess of Bedford born 1783 was a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria and served as a Lady of the Bedchamber. She invented the ritual of afternoon tea started at Woburn and is credited with the Queen Victoria Sponge.

Herbrand Arthur Russell 11th Duke of Bedford born 1858 and died 1940. He introduced Deer onto the Woburn estate, and paid 6 men to cut the grass using a scythe to keep as many people employed as possible on the estate. He also built houses for the people working on his estate. This was confirmed by our member Francis Waldock who as a child lived in one of the houses. The new town of Welwyn Garden City was built based on the Woburn estate houses.

He built a hospital for 14 patients which his wife Mary ran and called it Maryland. Mary had a private flying licence, she flew off one day and never returned. It was assumed she had died in a crash, and after this the hospital closed.

Henry Robin Ian Russell The 14th Duke born 1940 only held the title of Duke for one year and died aged 63, he had been responsible for Woburn Abbey and the estate since 1974. He established three golf courses. The Safari park created by his father was opened to the public in 1955.

Andrew Russell 15th Duke of Bedford born 1962 succeeded to the Dukedom of Bedford when his father suffered a fatal stroke in June 2003.

The Abbey and Gardens are currently closed to facilitate a major refurbishment programme, it is hoped to be reopened in the Spring of 2026. The Woburn Safari park is still open.

Ann received a spontaneous round of applause for her presentation which was very interesting and enlightening.

MAST meeting 17/04/2024 - The Berlin Airlift by Roger Mason

Berlin airlift The members of MAST who attended their monthly meeting held at the Tilsworth golf club on Wednesday 17th April were treated to a fascinating history lesson about the Berlin Airlift.

Roger Mason is a regular speaker at MAST meetings giving talks on a wide range of subjects, he started by giving a build up of events which lead up to the Berlin Airlift. It was a very enlightening talk and the speakers knowledge and presentation gave us a detailed insight to this historic event.

With the Germans facing defeat in the second world war the Americans, British and Russians meet to decide how they would divide up Germany once they had been defeated.

The Russians under Joseph Stalin took the lions share of Germany territory including Berlin.

A verbal agreement was made to divide Berlin up into sections controlled by Russia, America, Britain and France. Berlin was wholly within Russian held territory and in June 1948 and after a dispute about a new currency being introduced by the allies and the allies efforts to create a West German State, the Russians blockaded all access by road, rail or canal being used to feed the 2 million people of Berlin, they also cut off access to electricity, coal and food and other crucial supplies.

Berlin AirliftThe only option was to fly in supplies lead by the Americans and the British, flying non stop 24hrs a day 7 days a week for 18 months the Russians lifted the blockade in May 1949 but the airlift continued until September in case the Russian's resumed the blockade.

Under the Russians hard and cruel occupation millions of Germans living in east Berlin fled to other parts held by the Americans and British. In 1961 Russia built the Berlin wall and said it was to stop so many Germans trying to get into the Russian held territory, in fact the reverse was true.

The wall was eventually pulled down in 1989.

Chairman Chris Putman thanked the speaker and asked Ian Cotterell to give an update on plans for the Boys day out in July, he said the majority would prefer to go to Brooklands and he would be sending out further information later.

Meeting closed at 9.30 pm

MAST meeting 23/03/2024 - Quiz Night against the Women's Friendship Group

The evening was a great success with an even number of ladies and gentlemen. The atmosphere was very cordial with a little banter along the way. Well, done Jean Ball who did a splendid job on sorcing the question's which were wide ranging on multiple subjects and not just knitting and flower arranging as the men had feared.

The scores were evenly matched until the 4th round when the ladies played their first joker and took an 18-point lead even worse when they again played another joker in round 5 giving them a 27-point lead. The men rallied and reduced the deficit to 15 by the 7th but unfortunately it was too little too late.

So well done the ladies who now hold the trophy for the next 12 months.

The men took defeat well but with the comforting knowledge that it's our turn to set the questions next year and Chris is already looking at questions on car mechanics and football.

Once again thank you all and the ladies for making the evening a very social event.

MAST meeting 21/02/2024 - Time Flies at Old Warden by Debbie Land

Debbie is a volunteer at the Old Warden aircraft and vehicle collection, aided by her able assistant Jim, enthralled the MAST audience at Tilsworth Golf Centre for what turned out to be an enlightening and entertaining presentation supported by videos and photographs entitled ‘Time Flies at Old Warden’.

The evening covered the history of The Shuttleworth Trust from its origin, when Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth set it up, to the present day. In 1928 Richard, a wealthy bachelor, started his vehicle collection of cars with the purchase of a Railton which he intended to race, with other vehicles quickly following. In 1932 he inherited the family fortune and added what are now considered important historic aeroplanes to his expanding collection but tragically he died in an air accident at RAF Benson in 1940.

The Trust, however, with the help of the Shuttleworth Veteran Aircraft Society continued to maintain and acquire cars and planes in order to ‘educate future generations in the History of Transportation’. 1964 saw the first air show open to the public and they present air shows every year with this year being the 60th anniversary. Their flying program starts 12 May 2024 and the full Air Show Calendar is available on their website www.shuttleworth.org

MAST meeting 18/10/2023 - Tales from Wealdstone Police Station by Michael Long

Michael regaled the MAST audience at Tilsworth Golf Centre with some of his recollections of his experiences as Station Officer at the now transformed (it’s currently a block of flats) Wealdstone Police Station. Michael explained that as a civilian working at this Metropolitan Police reception desk, he was, for many years, the first point of contact for members of the public reporting a plethora of incidents, occurrences and crimes, both real and imaginary!

These reports ranged from the theft of cheese from a fridge through the handing in of an unexploded military shell to the inevitable ghost story which left the assembled members contemplating the possibility that they could exist. Add to this the stories of the shrinking man and the Baby Bio drinker and you can see that the evening was packed with interesting tales, some funny and some tragic but all together absorbing.

MAST meeting 21/06/2023 - Britain’s Westland Lysander by Debbie Land

On 21st June the Men’s Association of Stanbridge and Tilsworth (MAST) were fortunate to receive a presentation about the clandestine role played by Britain’s Westland Lysander aeroplane in the Special Operations Executive escapades between 1936 and 1946. Debbie Land, a volunteer with the Shuttleworth Collection, utilised her wealth of knowledge of this iconic aircraft to describe not only its construction and adaptations to its ever changing operational requirements but also discussed and identified some of the courageous people who flew on these dangerous missions.

She concluded by listing the many nearby country houses and locations in Bedfordshire that were involved in this Secret War. Far more than you would ever have dreamt of!