Funeral Procession in High Road, Laindon.

This photo was recently published on the Basildon Heritage website with an appeal for any information.

I believe this was the funeral of Mr Thomas Matthew Collings who died in a motorcycle accident in 1928. I found an article about it in the Chelmsford Chronicle dated 2nd March 1928.

Thomas Matthew Collings was born in 1908 and the family lived at No 1 Debigh Road.

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  • I have one indelible memory concerning Collings’ hardware store. My father never once hit or caned my two brothers or I. (Indeed the only caning I ever had, as a boy, was from Mr Taylor at Langdon Hills School, the details of which can be found elsewhere in these annals.) However, on one occasion, I had committed some particularly grievous crime — the details of which I have long since forgotten — that my father determined I needed a caning. Unfortunately, we did not possess a cane. Giving me a three penny joey, or was it sixpence, he sent me to Collings to buy a cane. Oh the humiliation!! To walk in and ask to buy a cane! It was obvious it was meant for me. Was it one of the Collings family who served me? I do not know. What I do remember is the look I was given. Not a word but a look as if I were guilty of a capital crime and was on my way to Tyburn for a well deserved hanging. Luckily for me, by the time I got home my father had had second thoughts. With a gruff warning, he hung the cane on a clothes hook and warned me that any repetition of said crime and he would use it. The prisoner was reprieved!

    By Alan Davies (12/06/2019)
  • There are several intriguing factors surrounding this post. The RAF was only formed in 1918 by the government combining the Royal Flying Corps with the Royal Naval Air Service. After WW1 there were calls to disband the still temporary RAF completely. Many thought it now totally unnecessary and a needless expense. The total numbers of men, aircraft, and air bases were dramatically reduced. The RAF kept itself in the public eye by staging the annual Hendon Air Show and competing for the Schneider Trophy — an annual air racing competition. I do not know the minimum age requirement to join the RAF at this time but it could not have been younger than eighteen. Presumably the competition to be accepted must have been fierce. Thomas Collings was nineteen when he died. He must have been accepted into the RAF only a short time before he his death.

    Editor:. The above is correct. The online Royal Air Force Airmen Records, 1918-1940 records show Thomas Matthew Collings’ service date as 11th October 1927, service No. 507400.

    By Alan Davies (10/06/2019)

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