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Norris Haines - Chauffeur and Gardener at Wickhamford Manor

Norris Haines, often known by the nickname ‘Buckley’, was a chauffeur and gardener to the Lees-Milne family of Wickhamford Manor and then Hody’s Place. He worked for the family from 1906 until Helen Lees-Milne’s death in 1962.

Norris was the son of William and Harriet Haines, born on 9th July 1889 in Aldington and his father was a farm labourer. By the time of the 1901 census he was 11 years of age and living with widowed mother, a laundress, in Aldington. In 1910 he married Florence Jane Harris and a year later, for the 1911 census, they were living in Badsey with their five-month old daughter, Hilda Doris. At this time his occupation was given as ‘Chauffeur (Domestic)’. A second daughter, Margaret, was born in 1913. After service in France and Italy in the Great War, in the Army Service Corps, he had moved to Wickhamford to live in ‘Whytebury’, Manor Road. A son, John Thomas William (‘Jack’) was born on 24th April 1920. (He was destined to be a professional footballer, who played once for England, scoring two goals against Switzerland in 1948.)

Florence Jane Harris, aged 17, before her marriage to Norris Haines in 1910.Florence Jane Harris with her two eldest children, Hilda Doris and Margaret (‘Peggy’).
Florence Jane Harris, aged 17, before her marriage to Norris Haines in 1910 and with her two eldest children, Hilda Doris and Margaret (‘Peggy’).

Private Norris Haines with rifle in Northern Italy during the Great War.Private Norris Haines on a motor-bike in France during the Great War.
Private Norris Haines with rifle in Northern Italy and on a motor-bike in France during the Great War.

Norris Haines ( X ) with some of his fellow soldiers in the Great War.

Norris Haines ( X ) with some of his fellow soldiers in the Great War.
Norris Haines ( X ) with other soldiers and Army transport in France.

Norris Haines ( X ) with other soldiers and Army transport in France.

 Norris-Haines-7.jpgNorris-Haines-8.jpg
Florence’s father, market gardener David Harris, moved the Haines family and their possessions from Bullybrook Cottages, Badsey to Wickhamford, during the Great War, with his horse and cart. He is also pictured on the right with his cats.

Norris Haines resplendent in chauffeur’s uniform, with George Lees-Milne’s car, pictured outside of his house, ‘Whytebury’, in Manor Road.

Norris Haines resplendent in chauffeur’s uniform, with George Lees-Milne’s car, pictured outside of his house, ‘Whytebury’, in Manor Road.
A post-War reunion of old soldiers, with Norris Haines shown by the ‘X’.

A post-War reunion of old soldiers, with Norris Haines shown by the ‘X’.
Norris Haines working as a gardener for the Lees-Milne family after the Second World War.

Norris Haines working as a gardener for the Lees-Milne family after the Second World War.
Richard Lees-Milne and Norris Haines in the garden of Hody’s Place in about 1968.

Richard Lees-Milne and Norris Haines in the garden of Hody’s Place in about 1968.
An elderly Florence and Norris Haines with their grandson, John Haines.  Norris died in 1974 and Florence in 1981.

An elderly Florence and Norris Haines with their grandson, John Haines. Norris died in 1974 and Florence in 1981.

Appendix

Norris Haines wrote the following postcard to his wife on 23rd July 1917 when he was on the Western Front. The field censor passed it, but he seems to have scratched out the location of the village on the postcard for security reasons.

Postcard front.
Postcard back 1.
Post cardback 2.

Acknowledgements: We are very grateful to Norris Haines’s grandson, John Haines, for supplying almost all of the photographs used here and the information accompanying them. The postcard sent from France was kindly supplied by Jim Heath.

Tom Locke – April 2014