The Tucker Diaries Exhibition at East Boldre Village Hall

You are invited to attend our free exhibition of the WW1 military flying school at the East Boldre, Beaulieu Airfield, with some recently discovered, exciting new material. We have enhanced our exhibition to include the WW1 military hospitals at Brockenhurst, which treated many of the pilots injured in flying accidents at East Boldre. After his second crash, Sergeant Arthur Simmons spent several weeks in hospital where he took a number of photographs which we have restored and added to our collection.

During 1916, Corporal Gordon Tucker was an aircraft rigger at East Boldre. He later moved to airfields in Hounslow and Wye where he continue his career as an aircraft engineer. During his time in the RFC, he kept meticulous pocket diaries of his experiences, the repairs he made to aircraft, his run-ins with superiors, the food he was served, his romantic liaisons and the many flights he took. His letters and diaries are the most extensive record found to date, of the day to day life on a WW1 military airfield.

Gordon Tucker’s diaries contain many unexpected gems, for example, the entry for Sunday 12 November 1916 provides previously unknown information about the Commanding Officer. It reads, “Lovely day. Plenty of flying. Capt Westerdarp now CO. Lt Byers killed in a Curtiss nosedive.”

Recently, his sons, Michael and Stuart Tucker, have made their father’s memorabilia available. Michael Tucker, age 84, who has transcribed his father’s diaries and letters, has flown from his home in Australia to be present at exhibitions at Hounslow, Wye and here at East Boldre. He will bring a range of WW1 memorabilia, including his father’s uniform, diaries, documents, photographs and medals. His 90 year old brother Stuart, who lives in Surrey, is currently unwell but we hope he can also be here.

At 11:00 am on Saturday 27 July, we will formally thank Michael and Stuart and present them each with a signed copy of our book, ‘From Forest Field to Western Front’.

In addition to the photographs and the Tucker diaries, the exhibits will also include the New Forest National Park Authority’s mobile WW1 exhibition and stands for the Milton Heritage Group (Friday and Saturday) and the East Boldre Painters Group.

At the same time, the latest designs for the new East Boldre Community Hub and Community Shop will be on display in our new Robert Coles Room, and there will be someone on hand to answer your questions.

The exhibition will be at the East Boldre Village Hall on Friday 26 July from 1:00 – 5:00 pm, Saturday 27 July from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday 28 July from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be available.

We look forward to seeing you if you can make it.

With best regards

Steve Antczak
Secretary, East Boldre Village Hall


LDHS Outing to Houghton Lodge – seats available

Dear Members and Friends
Here is a reminder about our outing to Houghton Lodge and Gardens on 19 June.

Houghton Lodge is a Grade II* listed Cottage Orné, surrounded by mature trees and lawns sweeping down to the banks of the famous River Test and is arguably one of the most beautiful privately owned homes and gardens in Hampshire.

There are still some seats available so if you haven’t booked your place yet, then download the attached form and send it to me as soon as possible.

It may sound a little expensive, but remember it includes the coach, coffee and biscuits on arrival, a tour of the house, and a self-guided tour of the beautiful gardens, plus lunch of course.

With just a little sunshine as well, it should be a really lovely day out!
Best wishes

Form download

Upcoming events in Local Area

Dear Members and Friends,You might be interested in some of the events shown below. If you any queries or want to book, send to Heather Needham, don’t send anything to me!

We do encourage all of our supporters to come along to our events. All of the events help to raise awareness of the variety of archives and interactions with them. Those events with a ticket price are helping to support the work of the Archives and Local Studies service, so please do support those if you can. Tickets will sell quickly for the event on 12 March, Hampshire Travels the World, as John Pilkington is a popular speaker, so book early to avoid disappointment and to take advantage of the cheaper early bird rate!  

Monday 25 February, 6.30pm – 8.30pm,
Voices for Heritage LGBT History Month Event
See some of Hampshire’s LGBT archives and hear about ‘Aspects of Hampshire’s Queer History’ with guest speaker Dr Clifford Williams admission charge, book by emailing .  

 Saturday 2 March, 9.45am – 1.00pm,
Community Archive Forum
As in previous years the Community Archive Forum provides an opportunity for representatives of local history societies and similar organisations in Hampshire to showcase what they have been doing; to network; and to share their experiences. It enables anyone with an interest in the county’s history to hear what is happening at local level and be inspired to get involved. The Forum is now a collaborative venture between Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and the Local History Section of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society. This year, there will be contributions from:

  • Milford on Sea Historical Record Society
  • Christchurch History Society
  • Ashburton Court, Southsea, research project
  • Hyde 900
  • Hampshire Constabulary History Society
  • plus a panel discussion on publications: journals, newsletters and occasional; including allocation of responsibilities; securing contributions; format; editing; financial considerations; marketing and distribution; web presence.

The Forum will be held in the cinema at Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester. This is a free event, and places are limited.
To book, please telephone Hampshire Record Office on 01962 846154 or email no later than 25 February.    

Tuesday 12 March, 6.30pm-9pm
Hampshire Travels the World The Silk Road from Georgia to Afghanistan: 
Join Hampshire’s own explorer and broadcaster John Pilkington in an exciting journey across Central Asia. In 2011 John followed a spectacular branch of the Silk Road, starting in the Caucasus and crossing the Caspian Sea to Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand. Then, reeling from the beauty of those legendary cities, he turned south-east to explore the High Pamirs of Afghanistan – a region well-known to Marco Polo – before making a dramatic finale at the source of the Oxus in the heart of Central Asia. His stunning photos and some hair-raising stories will make this an evening not to be missed. John is one of Britain’s most experienced adventurers and public speakers. For many years he was a broadcaster with the BBC World Service and Radio 4, making travel documentaries and contributing to programmes such as ‘From Our Own Correspondent’. But it’s for his thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated talks that people know him best. He has spoken to over 1,000 audiences in six countries, and holds the Royal Geographical Society’s much-coveted Ness Award for popularising geography and the wider understanding of the world. More about him at .  An exhibition of archive material relating to Hampshire travellers and explorers will be on display, taking you across the world through journals and other items concerning George Marston, Ernest Shackleton and others. will include a drinks reception and nibbles. Price: £14, early bird deal of £12 if booking before booking before 26 February.To book, please telephone Hampshire Record Office on 01962 846154 or email   

Exhibition, April to June
FORD TRANSITION TOURING EXHIBITION: From Fields to Ford and Beyond, Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester SO23 8TH.The Ford Transition touring exhibition is a repurposed version of the original April 2018 Heritage Lottery funded pop-up museum which was housed in three cargo containers at the site of the Ford Vehicle Repair Centre site off Wide Lane, Swaythling, Southampton. The exhibition explores Southampton’s shift from ‘making’ to ‘moving’ through the changing uses of one small but historically significant site. From production of aircraft parts (Cunliffe-Owen 1937-1945) to motor parts (Briggs 1949-1953) and the iconic Ford transit van (Ford 1953 – 2013) the industrial activity at the site in Swaythling highlights Southampton’s rich transport manufacturing heritage. Now, as it is redeveloped into a logistics park attracting businesses through its land, sea and air connections, the site tells a story of Southampton’s strengthening status as ‘Gateway to the World’ and its economic transition from ‘making’ (manufacturing) to ‘moving’ (logistics) industries.   

Best wishes,
Heather Needham

An interesting book?

A book you might be interested in, read the letter below for details.

 Dear Caroline,

Please can I draw your, and your members, attention my latest book that is now available?

They Turned Out So Ill! deals with the Independent Companies of Foreigners – Frenchmen who had deserted their armies in Spain and Portugal and enlisted in the British Army in the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars.

These units were formed and trained at Lymington, some served in America (where their actions remain controversial) and others remained. The book deals with the development and operation of the Foreign Depot in the town as well as these companies. Although they were not in Lymington long these Frenchmen made a mark with riot, murder and more.

The book is the result of extensive research in archives here, in France and the USA as well as secondary sources.

It is directly available from the printers:

It can also be bought via the Amazon or Great British Bookshop sites.

Sorry for this sales pitch but after having contact with you during the research I am confident that it will be of interest. Please let me know if you need any further information or if there is anything I can help you with.

Kind regards

Alistair Nichols