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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Looking for Keith Garrard

We received the message below this week:

I have just found an old article on your web site from Keith Garrard in 2009 talking about his life in Milford. My mother in-law was sent to his mother's house, Mary Garrard, during the war as an evacuee.

I know it's a long shot but is he still contactable?

Many thanks,


If you might know where Keith Garrard may be, please email and we will let Mandy know.

16th August 2009: Keith Garrard’s Memories of Milford.

As you might guess playing with this website keeps my free time pretty busy & it has plenty of rewarding benefits, not least of which is meeting interesting local people. A couple of days ago, totally out of the blue, I received an e-mail from Keith (R. Keith Garrard) recalling his days in Milford on Sea. His story has plenty of local interest, so I thought I would share it with you.

Keith Garrard’s story: “My parents moved to Carrington Lane just before WW2 when I was about 2 years old. Dad worked for Wellworthy transport section and joined the ARP. During the war years he was a corporal in the Milford on Sea Home Guard. One night during the second world war a sea mine was dropped by a German Ju88 aircraft which landed to the back of our house at 46 Carrington Lane. The bomb’s parachute got hooked up on a tree bordering our house and the field beyond, and thankfully failed to explode. Had it done so it would have caused considerable loss of life in the area. It took the Royal Navy bomb disposal squad a long time to dismantle it and my dad had a piece of it in his garden shed for years! Later, my dad ran the Milford on Sea boys club for about five years before his health deteriorated. The club was affiliated to the National federation of Boys Clubs and they used to meet twice a week in the old Church Hall in Sea Road.

Tramp Ships by Roy Fenton
click image to enlarge
I went to the local Church of England school and later to Ashley Secondary School. On leaving school I joined the Merchant Navy as an apprentice deck officer on tramp ships*. My first voyage to sea had been across Sturt Pond on a raft consisting of two 40 gallon drums and planks of washed up wood from the beach, but only after my cousin Roy’s dog had tested it for stability. I was the lightest child so I was nominated the first captain! Whilst in the Merchant Navy I took my second mates and master mariners certificates at Southampton School of Navigation. On gaining my Master Mariners certificate I joined Cunard S,S,Co and worked my way up to First Officer on R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, before leaving the sea to take up the position of Port Agency Superintendent with Cunard, and later a managerial position on Southampton Container Terminal. I moved to Lymington in 1960 and various places subsequently to be near my workplace. 

Today I am now retired and live in Fordingbridge. My father died in 1968 and mother in 1999 after the move to Lymington. P.S. Most of my village friends have now passed away. PPS: I  still have a copy of Chris Hobby’s book of postcards of Milford on Sea and Lymington.” 

*Note: Tramp Ship: I didn’t know what a ‘tramp ship’ was, so here is the definition I found: ‘A merchant cargo ship engaged in the tramp trade is one which does not have a fixed schedule or published ports of call. As opposed to freight liners which operate to a fixed schedule.’ | ARP Warden: As part of the Civil Defence precautions set up by the government in 1935, the job of ARP (Air Raid Precaution) Warden was created. By the time war was declared in 1939, ARP wardens were already in place to cover cities, towns and villages. They had to see that the streets were cleared when the air raid sirens sounded and assisted with dealing with the damage after the raids. It was a dangerous job. The wardens patrolled the streets every night and anyone letting even a tiny chink of light out of their windows would be in deep trouble.

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