-  Updated on Saturday 20th November 2021 03:26pm


This short video has been transferred from a film taken by Allesina Davey during wartime, when many evacuees were moved to Beckford to escape the bombings in the large cities. Vera, one of the evacuees, transferred the original cine film to video tape and wrote a short narrative to accompany the film - an extract of this narrative in included here as a guide for those wishing to re-live their wartime memories.

This video takes about 10 minutes to run and may take some time to download, so be patient!
There is a superimposed music on the video...

The opening scenes are of "Beckford Carnival" in May 1940, Signora is Carnival Queen with several maids in waiting following. Captain Davey also appears.

  • A red coach arrives carrying the evacuees to Beckford, Vera is the first to be seen with the other three girls following. We are now riding bicycles down the drive from where the orchard gate was.
  • A garden party held during July 1940 with tug-o-war and other sports.
  • Captain Davey joined in the gas mask practice - they even tried the gas masks on the goats!
  • Four girls making a large snowman. The old swing and archway for roses is visible in the background. A quick glimpse of 'Yippie" the little black dog runs across the front.
  • The Catholic Procession.
  • The home Guard practicing their drill near the Village Hall.
  • Finally, more fun and games in the field at the back and side of the Village Hall. The swing had been borrowed from the Manor House for the day.
  • A few children's races and 'goes' on the small railway.

Captain Davey's Sunbeam

Another interesting anecdote about Captain Davey has been supplied by Angela Barrett who has an ancestral connection to Beckford by way of the Nind and Smith families. Angela came across an article about a Sunbeam motorbike once owned by Capt. A Davey of Manor House, Beckford. The motorbike was sold at Bonhams in April 2009, with the following details...

Lot 284: 1916 Sunbeam 3½hp Frame no. 4116 Engine no. 105/4169GS

Description: The first Sunbeam motorcycle - a 350cc side-valve single - left the Wolverhampton premises of John Marston, hitherto a manufacturer of finest quality enamelled goods, bicycles and - latterly - cars, in 1912. Designed by Harry Stevens (later to found AJS) the 2¾hp Sunbeam was equipped with a two-speed countershaft gearbox and fully enclosed all-chain drive, proving an instant success in an era when the norm was hub gears and belt-drive. Like Marston's other products, his motorcycles soon established a reputation for sound construction and exemplary finish. Their racetrack performances did nothing to discourage sales either. Howard Davies (later to found the HRD marque) finished second in the 1914 Senior TT on his and Sunbeam’s first visit to the Island, and Tommy De La Hay inherited victory in the 1920 Senior after George Dance, also Sunbeam-mounted, retired while leading. Sunbeam’s second model was the John Greenwood-designed 3½hp of 1913. A sidevalve single like its predecessor, the 3½hp came with a three-speed hand-change gearbox and fully enclosed oil-bath chaincases, the latter first seen on the company’s bicycles.

After the outbreak of The Great War, most of the Sunbeams produced for military purposes were supplied to Britain’s allies, most notably Russia, France and Italy. Although some civilian-style 3½hp models were used by the British Army, it was the Royal Navy and its flying arm, the Royal Naval Air Service, that were the biggest customers at home. In 1915 the RNAS ordered the 3½hp Sunbeam as ‘their’ machine. The RNAS 3½hp differed from the civilian version in being painted drab green - over the nickel plating - with black tank lining and green handlebar grips. It was fitted with a fuel tank divided into three compartments: one for petrol, one for oil and one for paraffin. Machines supplied under War Department contracts were stamped with a ‘GS’ engine number suffix, which stood for ‘General Service’.

This military Sunbeam’s accompanying old-style logbook (issued in December 1924) records the owner at that time as A Davey, Esq, of Manor House, Beckford, Gloucestershire, who held the rank of Captain and had served with the Herefordshire, Hertfordshire and Cheshire Regiments in WWI. ‘BM 5036’ was licensed intermittently throughout the 1920s but appears to have been off the road for some considerable time thereafter. The only other recorded keeper is the well-known motorcycle dealer and Norton tuner, Sid Mularney of Leighton Buzzard, who acquired the machine in May 1956. Also contained within the extensive history file, close inspection of which is highly recommended, is an undated press cutting reporting that Sid Mularney had ridden his 1916 Sunbeam, referred to as a despatch rider’s mount, to the VMCC’s rally in Douglas, Isle of Man during TT week.

Sunbeam Motorcycle