398th Bomb Group

Wilfrid's Reminiscences

By Wilfrid Dimsdale
UK Friend of the 398th
October 2004

Recently the 398th Association was notified of the death of a very dear 398th friend that lived in England.  Her name was Eileen Webb and she, along with her good husband Digger, had been a mainstay with the 398th UK Friends activities that make our returns to the Nuthampstead area so enjoyable.  We will miss Eileen's warm smile and friendship.  Eileen's untimely passing gave us an opportunity to do a bit of remembering about her life. Wilfrid Dimsdale has done some remembering for us to include recalling his own thoughts about Eileen and her family.  Reminiscences like the following paragraphs written by Wilfrid, the chair of the 398th UK Friends, must be recorded for posterity.

Wally Blackwell
398th Bomb Group Memorial Association

Wilfrid's Reminiscences

A little background to Eileen who was a wonderful person, always cheeful and friendly, bright as a button and every inch her father's daughter. If there was anything one needed to  know about the locality, Eileen was the one to ask. It was the greatest priviledge to have known her, and we all have the greatest sympathy with Digger,  the Webbs, and the Dry families in their loss.
Eileen Webb's father, Simme Chappel was Baron Dimsdale's game keeper for many years, and had tales to tell of Americans casually standing on heaps of bombs  letting rip with automatic weapons at the pheasants, rabbits etc. There were occasions when he had to take evasive action!
Mr. Chappel had been a sniper during WWl, and was a crack shot, he could shoot a squirrel running across a track in the woods dead before it had reached the other side from a good distance away. He taught a trick with a piece of string in which you tie what we call a granny knot, and using his tecnique, unravel it with no knots at all.
He was born and bred in Anstey, and his house should have been preserved by the National Trust complete with all its contents. He had his first pair of shoes, a photograph of the Anstey Pipe Band marching up Cheapside before WWl, a little organ, and a collection of weaponry, mainly sporting and of some antiquity. When a child, before winter set in, the children were covered in goose fat and wrapped up in a red bandage that was not undone until the following spring.
Putting in a new gatepost was a serious business. One had to get back into the hole, all the soil plus the gatepost to make sure the job was done properly. Both Eileen and her father, 'did the job properly'.

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