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Victor John Charles, 1917–2013: in memoriam

Victor (‘Vic’) Charles died on 7 December 2013, aged 96, in Juniper Ward at the Horton General Hospital, Banbury. He will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him from Barton and further afield.

Vic was born in Midhurst, West Sussex in1917; son to Thomas and Mildred Charles, he was the youngest of two brothers. Sadly his older brother Arthur was taken prisoner at Singapore and died in captivity in Burma in August 1943.

In his formative years, Vic enjoyed working alongside his father in the family forge.  As a young man, he was appointed blacksmith to Cowdray Park and could be found with his father shoeing the polo ponies. His claim to fame was being interviewed and photographed with Richard Dimbleby, standing outside the Midhurst forge.

During the war years Vic served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to Royal Sussex Regiment. He was part of a light aid detachment that supported the maintenance of the vehicles at the D Day landing at Normandy. Vic always remembered the fallen soldiers, so each year Vic and Bubbles would return to Midhurst on Armistice Day to pay their respects to his brother and fellow comrades who lost their lives in the war.

‘Bubbles’ and Vic had known each other since childhood and had been life-long friends as they lived opposite each other in Midhurst, eventually marrying in 1951.  They both enjoyed bell ringing, cycling, stoolball and attending the local dances with their dear friends Dorothy and Jack. In the late 50’s they left Midhurst and went to live in Essex where they adopted their daughter Mary in 1958. For a short while they lived in the Vale of Uffington and then finally moved to Barton-on-the-Heath in May 1963.

Bubbles and Vic became part of the village community, with Vic joining the bell ringers at Long Compton, Bubbles baking and sewing for the local fundraising events. Vic will be most remembered for his ironwork which is evident across the Barton estate, St Lawrence Church and the surrounding village. The piece of work which has the most resonance to his family is Jesus on the Crucifix which won him supreme prize at the Royal Show in Stoneleigh, plus the model of St Lawrence’s church which could be found in his front room and the horse wagon scene.  Every Yuletide, Vic and Bubbles displayed the nativity scene outside Rose Cottage with people coming from far and wide to see it.  In memory to Vic and Bubbles this treasured keepsake will stay in Barton so that each year they can be remembered.

Vic was a kind and caring man, remembered with fondness by all who knew him. In 2004 Vic and Bubbles were honoured to be invited to the Queen’s garden party, acknowledging his ironwork and local community support. Most of all Vic enjoyed his family, friends and those important times of the year. He was very proud of his grandson and his two beautiful great grandchildren, happy with his life, proud of who he was and of his long marriage to Bubbles – his soul mate for 55 years.

Let us not mourn his passing but think of the good times we enjoyed with him and smile. On behalf of his family, grandson Stuart, great grandchildren Zachary and Darcie, we would like to thank everyone for their kindness and I ask you to raise a glass of good cheer in loving memory of ‘Vic’.

Mary Muir, Vic’s daughter

via LINK Magazine

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