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In the 1911 census the Webster family were now living in Shepherds Bush.
Graham Webster believes that Walter senior had visited Simpson on
business during the First World War; he was taken by the fact that it was
a quiet backwater with good fishing facilities and opened an office of Premier
Press in the nearby village of Bletchley which is located a few miles from
Simpson (Bletchley Park, of course, was the code-breaking centre during
the Second World War). In 1919 he decided to buy a large house named The
Walnuts for his younger son, William, who apparently had run away from
school and lied about his age in order to join the army. The Walnuts was
a gift in recognition of his service to his country. It was William who went
to Buckingham Palace to receive his brother, Walter’s, DSO.

Walter Webster senior died in South Africa in 1947 whilst convalescing after
an operation. William sold The Walnuts not long afterwards, moving to East
Grinstead. (Incidentally, it became a school in the 1970s and is now the
Milton Keynes Music Service – quite a large property).

Walter Webster senior had, of course, been devastated by the death of his
son in France and had determined that his name should be included on the
Simpson War Memorial which is located only a hundred yards from The
Walnuts; however, there is some doubt that Walter junior ever actually lived
in the village. There is also a plaque inside the church which lists all the
76 members of the village and the surrounding area who served in the First
World War; this includes William’s name but, again, there is some doubt that
he, too, ever resided in Simpson until about 1919.

I was invited to the rededication of the Simpson War Memorial which was
held on the 14 September last. It was a lovely summer’s day with the
proceedings starting at midday when the church bells were rung and the
names of the fallen (11 in total) were read out. Flowers were placed on the
memorial and a flag bearer from the British Legion was in attendance,
together with a bugler from The Walnuts who played the Last Post, followed
by a minute’s silence and Reveille. A large number of villagers, plus visitors
and numerous dignitaries, attended what was a very moving service.

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