Chipperfield Logo

Bill Congdon 1922-2007

2nd of November 2007

Granddad was born in Bois Mill, Chesham, in 1922 and moved to Chipperfield in 1928. For the 78 years he lived there he loved every minute of it. He left school at 14 and always kept an eye open for a way to provide for the family. He had a long list of jobs including milkman, tree feller and labourer, until he joined the Royal Marines in 1940. While in the Marines, Granddad served in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Mount Casino and, later on, in India. This will have involved some very scary moments I’m sure but the thrill of travelling, the friendships formed and the pride he took from serving his country more than made up for that.

Nan and Granddad married in 1945 during a week-end leave from the Marines. I’ve seen photos of them at the time and they made a very handsome couple. Their first home together was Inglenook on The Common in Chipperfield. After Aunty Wendy and Mum were born they moved into their house at Nunfield, where they lived for 43 years. After he left the Marines, Granddad went on to work at Heathrow Airport where he remained until he took early retirement in 1984.

My earliest memories of Granddad were formed in the house at Nunfield around that time. I recall, amongst many other examples of his DIY, the extravagant shelter he built for the dogs in the garden. That was a typical example of the lengths he would go to for his animals. Nan always said that if she had fur or feather, Granddad would have loved her even more. I know Jackie agrees with me that we’ve had some great times with both Nan and Granddad. I’m just sorry that Kellie and Andrew, the two grandchildren in Australia, were unable to spend more time with them both – although maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing as they missed some of the more dangerous stunts Granddad taught Jackie and I (not that we complained).

As a young man Granddad enjoyed hunting and shooting but in later years he became more interested in the welfare of the local wildlife and he began providing food for the foxes, badgers and anything else which made its way into the garden. He was in his element when he and Nan moved to Scatterdells Lane, where they could both care for the wildlife and their livestock with all that entailed.

We’re all afraid now that we’ll never know the true story behind the missing finger. If you believed the stories he told us, it could have been anything from biting it off while enjoying a midnight feast in bed, to being subject to sniper fire while testing the wind direction in the trenches. I wonder if we’ll ever get Nan to spill the beans …

Since passing my motorcycle test Granddad was always keen to advise me on how to best stay upright and safe, however, I always had to take that advice with a pinch of salt given the stories that he’d told me about his exploits. Highlights include the time he scared Aunty Alice on the way home from Aunty Di’s wedding. He was happily riding down the road – little did he know that Alice, in the sidecar, was over on the pavement.

Something that I’ll always remember about Granddad is that, even right up until the end, he would ask about how things were going for you and he’d remember the small details that you’d discussed previously. This always acted as a reminder that he spent a lot of his time thinking about others.

Granddad was always fun to be around and I’m sure you’ve all got stories about him to back that up. But to be part of his family was special and we were all very lucky to have had our lives touched by him.

David Seager

This page is edited by Tony

Comment on "Bill Congdon 1922-2007"

Comments posted here will be publicly visible. This is not a means of contact.