Family visit celebrates scheme name

Family visit celebrates scheme name

Relatives of a family killed in a bombing raid in the Second World War have paid a special visit to a new retirement housing development in Ashford, Kent, named in their memory.

Chamberlain Manor is named in honour of William and Adiline (known as Ann) Chamberlain and their two-year-old daughter Wendy, who died when their home in Birling Road was bombed by a German plane in February, 1943.

William’s nephew Chris Chamberlain and his wife Margaret were given a tour of the site and enjoyed a coffee morning with residents and staff after being invited along by Housing & Care 21, which runs the site. They were accompanied by Ron and Mary Sharp, Ann’s niece, who they had met recently as a result of researching the family history. Local historian Alan McKenna, who had researched the naming of the site, was also there.

Chris said: “I couldn’t believe it when I read in the local paper that the building had been named after my Uncle Will and Aunty Ann. I never met them myself, and sadly both my parents are no longer with us, but I know my dad would have been very proud that his brother and family were being remembered in this way.” 

During his visit, Chris, aged 75, gave the residents a brief talk about the family and Will’s service during the war. He said his uncle had been in the Territorial Army at the start of the war and was shipped to France in 1939. He was allowed home for 10 days leave in 1940, the family think it was to see his baby daughter Wendy.

He returned to France and was among the troops evacuated from Dunkirk. It is thought this experience left him with some problems, as we was then moved around quite a lot by the army before being discharged on December 26, 1942. The fatal bombing raid happened shortly after, on February 3. 1943. 

“It was lovely to see the scheme that now has the family name. We were very impressed with the place and what it offers the people who live there. It is nice to know that the family is being remembered and in a way that really does good for people,” added Chris, who lives in nearby Willesborough.

Chamberlain Manor is an Extra Care court, which means it offers independent living in age-exclusive apartments, with care and support services based on site. It also has a range of communal facilities, including a restaurant, residents’ lounges and a hair salon.

Assistant Manager Scott Breckenridge said: “We were really pleased that Chris and his family were able to take up the invite to come and see us. They had a tour of the site and were able to share the information they have about Will and Ann and little Wendy with us, which was fascinating and gives the name of the court extra meaning for us.

“I’m glad they enjoyed their visit and liked what they saw. They are welcome to come back any time.”

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