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Heather Bell at Tipton

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2012

Keith Hodgkins

Keith Hodgkins takes a closer look at a fascinating series of photographs of Daphne March at work in World War Two

The photographs of Heather Bell taken by the Ministry of Information in 1942 have become quite well known to canal enthusiasts over the years, but the locations of the images are probably familiar only to the more diehard canal explorer. All of the 26 pictures (19 of which are reproduced here) were taken at Tipton in the Staffordshire Black Country, some on the still open Old Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, others on the now defunct Tipton Green Locks section, and a final two on the Walsall Canalat Ocker Hill. They capture a day in the life of Heather Bell when she was engaged on the round trip from her home base at Worcester with a cargo of flour for Tipton. The unloading at Tipton Green is seen, then the start of the onward empty journey to Cannock to pick up a load of coal slack for Worcester.

What makes these evocative images even more fascinating is the unusual nature of both the boat and its crew in the form of mother and daughter Margaret and Daphne March. Thanks to surviving records and accounts, including Daphne’s own memoir written for her college journal, we know quite a lot about the background story. Heather Bell was built by Nursers of Braunston in 1937 for Christopher March of Worcester, an early canal enthusiast, who with his younger sister Daphne used the boat at weekends and for occasional cargo carrying trips. The boat cost £561 7s 6d, a massive sum to spend in those pre-war days seemingly on a hobby; the wherewithal was due no doubt to their father’s position as a partner in a Worcester firm of solicitors.

<p>Daphne puts the sheeting ropes on the fore cabin of <em>Heather Bell</em> as she prepares to start unloading the sacks of flour at Tipton Green. The photograph is taken from inside the warehouse, with Park Lane Methodist church in the background. This was demolished in 1975 and replaced with a smaller modern structure.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7630)

Daphne puts the sheeting ropes on the fore cabin of Heather Bell as she prepares to start unloading the sacks of flour at Tipton Green. The photograph is taken from inside the warehouse, with Park Lane Methodist church in the background. This was demolished in 1975 and replaced with a smaller modern structure.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7630)

On the outbreak of war, Christopher joined the merchant navy and Daphne, after completing a degree in modern languages at Oxford, decided to try her hand at commercial carrying. In January 1940 she advertised in The Times for crews and was joined over the next two years by several women including Eily ‘Kit’ Gayford who later became one of the instigators of the Ministry of Transport’s boatwomen’s training scheme. This gave rise to the cynical name Idle Women, derived from the initials IW on the badges issued to denote Inland Waterways war work.

Gayford described some of her experiences on Heather Bell, including the unloading of the flour at Tipton Green, in her 1973 book The Amateur Boatwomen. However, for most of 1942 and 1943 Heather Bell’s crew consisted of Daphne and her mother Margaret, and it was the two of them that were recorded by the Ministry of Information’s official photographer on 8th April 1942 at which time their respective ages were 27 and 60. The photographs were used in various publications during and after the war to illustrate how women took on men’s work for the war effort.

The boat is tied up at the flour warehouse and unsheeted ready for unloading as Daphne fills a copper kettle from the boat’s water can.Credit:  © Imperial War Museums (D 7634)

The boat is tied up at the flour warehouse and unsheeted ready for unloading as Daphne fills a copper kettle from the boat’s water can. © Imperial War Museums (D 7634)

Unloading begins from the front of the boat. Tipton Green Bridge can be seen in the background with Dudley Castle Hill in the far distance. The first building to the right of the bridge is BCN house number 100, which still exists. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7637)

Unloading begins from the front of the boat. Tipton Green Bridge can be seen in the background with Dudley Castle Hill in the far distance. The first building to the right of the bridge is BCN house number 100, which still exists. © Imperial War Museums (D 7637)

The equivalent scene in September 2011 with the fourth annual Tipton Canal Festival in progress. The flour warehouse was demolished in the late 1940s and the land incorporated into Coronation Gardens in the late 1950s. Note Tipton Green Bridge, widened in the early 1960s, and the BCN house number 100 in the distance. Credit: Keith Hodgkins

The equivalent scene in September 2011 with the fourth annual Tipton Canal Festival in progress. The flour warehouse was demolished in the late 1940s and the land incorporated into Coronation Gardens in the late 1950s. Note Tipton Green Bridge, widened in the early 1960s, and the BCN house number 100 in the distance. Keith Hodgkins

The sequence of pictures first shows the boat moored at the flour warehouse on the Old Main Line at Tipton Green, with Daphne filling a gleaming copper kettle from the boat’s water can, followed by the unloading in progress. The empty boat is then seen being hauled across to the other side of the canal before entering the top lock of the Tipton Green flight. The images of the boat working through this section are perhaps the most historically important of the series as they depict many intimate details of this lost canal.

Having crossed the New Main Line at Watery Lane Junction, Heather Bell is next seen in the top lock of the Toll End Communication Canal, with the crew investigating an apparent obstruction around the propeller. The sequence then jumps to the Walsall Canal where the boat, having turned left at Toll End Junction, heads towards Tame Valley Junction, with Ocker Hill power station just out of view on the left. In the final frame she has made a right turn onto the Tame Valley Canal, whence she will take the Rushall Canal to gain access to the Cannock coalfield.

Unfortunately there are no pictures of the boat’s progress along the Toll End Communication Canal, another lost waterway which to the author’s knowledge was never recorded in its working days. One wonders what the photographer was up to when he waited for a further two miles and six locks before taking his final two shots. Perhaps there were more photographs which did not survive.

In addition to these location shots there are several photographs of the ladies themselves, the most charming of which are of Mrs March preparing vegetables on the boat’s counter and buttering bread in the cabin. Other obviously posed shots show Daphne in various outfits to suit differing weather conditions and modes of work: oilskins, dungarees, and corduroys and sweater.

The contrast between the two women makes for a contemporary social comment; the younger lady always in trousers with hair held up in a turban, while her mother dresses in a skirt and hat.

Daphne left the canal after the end of the war and wrote a short account of her canal experiences in an Old Students’ Report for her Oxford college, Lady Margaret Hall, in which she described the range of cargoes and destinations. “In four years our Heather Bell carried more than 7000 tons of cargo. She took slack to Worcester, spam to Nottingham, sugar to Wolverhampton, flour to Tipton, sauce to Wigan, coal to Oxford. copper and aluminium to Birmingham, shell cases to the Potteries, grain to the Mersey and RAF stores to the Bristol Channel.”

Daphne begins the unloading. Eily (Kit) Gayford described the process in The Amateur Boatwomen at the time that she crewed with Daphne: “The next morning unloading started soon after ten. The method was rather simple: a chain was lowered into the boat, and when it had been fixed round the head of a flour bag, men pulled on it, up went the bag and down came the other end of the chain ready for the next. Daphne generally preferred to do the chain on the sacks herself, so Molly and I went out to do the shopping . . .” Note the name of the miller, T.S. Townshead & Sons Ltd, Albion Flour Mills, Worcester, 1941, stencilled on each bag. The single storey house on the far side of the canal still exists. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7636)

Daphne begins the unloading. Eily (Kit) Gayford described the process in The Amateur Boatwomen at the time that she crewed with Daphne: “The next morning unloading started soon after ten. The method was rather simple: a chain was lowered into the boat, and when it had been fixed round the head of a flour bag, men pulled on it, up went the bag and down came the other end of the chain ready for the next. Daphne generally preferred to do the chain on the sacks herself, so Molly and I went out to do the shopping . . .” Note the name of the miller, T.S. Townshead & Sons Ltd, Albion Flour Mills, Worcester, 1941, stencilled on each bag. The single storey house on the far side of the canal still exists. © Imperial War Museums (D 7636)

<p><em>Heather Bell</em>, with unloading almost half complete, beside the Tipton Green warehouse where she is being gradually eased along to bring the cargo in line with the hoist. Note the blank space on the cabin beneath the owners&rsquo; names. Wartime regulations required that all references to place names be removed and so the word Worcester, the boat&rsquo;s home base, has been painted out.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7638)

Heather Bell, with unloading almost half complete, beside the Tipton Green warehouse where she is being gradually eased along to bring the cargo in line with the hoist. Note the blank space on the cabin beneath the owners’ names. Wartime regulations required that all references to place names be removed and so the word Worcester, the boat’s home base, has been painted out.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7638)

In September 1945 Daphne married Kenneth St Joseph (1912–94), a Cambridge University geologist and archaeologist who pioneered the use of aerial photography as a method of archaeological research. They settled in Cambridgeshire and had a family of two sons and two daughters. Daphne died in 2002.

After the war Christopher March pursued a career as a solicitor but continued to use Heather Bell for cargo carrying and trip boating. He sold her in 1954 and since that time she has had a succession of owners and is understood to be currently undergoing restoration at Horsham, West Sussex. Can it be hoped that one day she will once again tie up alongside Coronation Gardens on the BCN Old Main Line in Tipton where she delivered her cargoes of flour all those years ago?

<p>The primitive mechanism for hoisting the sacks of flour up into the warehouse at Tipton; a part of canal operation that was not normally photographed.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7640)

The primitive mechanism for hoisting the sacks of flour up into the warehouse at Tipton; a part of canal operation that was not normally photographed.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7640)

The photographer has climbed to the top of the warehouse to make this dramatic image looking down into the boat. Daphne noted in her memoir that the cargo of 352 sacks took about two hours to unload.Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7639)

The photographer has climbed to the top of the warehouse to make this dramatic image looking down into the boat. Daphne noted in her memoir that the cargo of 352 sacks took about two hours to unload. © Imperial War Museums (D 7639)

With the unloading completed, the empty boat has been hauled across to the other side of the canal and is about to be winded to face Tipton Green Junction for the onward journey down Tipton Green Locks. An unladen horse-drawn Thomas Clayton tanker boat is just passing the junction heading in the direction of Wolverhampton. The photograph was taken from Tipton Green Bridge. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7642)

With the unloading completed, the empty boat has been hauled across to the other side of the canal and is about to be winded to face Tipton Green Junction for the onward journey down Tipton Green Locks. An unladen horse-drawn Thomas Clayton tanker boat is just passing the junction heading in the direction of Wolverhampton. The photograph was taken from Tipton Green Bridge. © Imperial War Museums (D 7642)

Daphne hauls the boat around to face the junction, with the flour warehouse on the left. Owen Street Bridge, which was rebuilt in similar style in 2002, can be seen just above the bow. The buildings to the left of the bridge were cleared to make way for Coronation Gardens which opened in 1953. Those to the right were demolished around 1980 as part of the Owen Street redevelopment, with the exception of the Fountain Inn, the white structure just to the right of the bridge. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7641)

Daphne hauls the boat around to face the junction, with the flour warehouse on the left. Owen Street Bridge, which was rebuilt in similar style in 2002, can be seen just above the bow. The buildings to the left of the bridge were cleared to make way for Coronation Gardens which opened in 1953. Those to the right were demolished around 1980 as part of the Owen Street redevelopment, with the exception of the Fountain Inn, the white structure just to the right of the bridge. © Imperial War Museums (D 7641)

The same viewpoint in September 2011 with British Waterways Atlas and Malus attending the Tipton Canal Festival. The white Fountain Inn can be seen to the right of the new Owen Street Bridge. Credit: Keith Hodgkins

The same viewpoint in September 2011 with British Waterways Atlas and Malus attending the Tipton Canal Festival. The white Fountain Inn can be seen to the right of the new Owen Street Bridge. Keith Hodgkins

Above: A 2008 view from Tipton Green Bridge shows Coronation Gardens on the left with the stanked off Tipton Green Junction marked by the new stepped access onto the towpath. Note the single storey house that also appears in the lower photograph of page 13. Credit: Keith Hodgkins

Above: A 2008 view from Tipton Green Bridge shows Coronation Gardens on the left with the stanked off Tipton Green Junction marked by the new stepped access onto the towpath. Note the single storey house that also appears in the lower photograph of page 13. Keith Hodgkins

<p><em>Heather Bell</em> has entered the top lock of the Tipton Green flight and Margaret closes the gate as a horse-drawn coal boat passes by on the Old Main Line. The bridge carried Elliotts Road over the lock. The padlock on the lock beam and chain below suggest that the locks were closed at certain times. Note the carved lock name in the balance beam, once a common feature on the BCN, and the pulley wheel on the beam close to the heel post, designed to avoid haulage ropes rubbing on the bridge abutment. The fact that the bridge guard plate is well worn suggests that the pulley is a comparatively recent addition. The flat-capped gongoozler adds to the period charm.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7643)

Heather Bell has entered the top lock of the Tipton Green flight and Margaret closes the gate as a horse-drawn coal boat passes by on the Old Main Line. The bridge carried Elliotts Road over the lock. The padlock on the lock beam and chain below suggest that the locks were closed at certain times. Note the carved lock name in the balance beam, once a common feature on the BCN, and the pulley wheel on the beam close to the heel post, designed to avoid haulage ropes rubbing on the bridge abutment. The fact that the bridge guard plate is well worn suggests that the pulley is a comparatively recent addition. The flat-capped gongoozler adds to the period charm.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7643)

The boat emerges from the second lock of the Tipton Green flight and has caused a small crowd of onlookers (including the old boy with the flat cap) to gather. Perhaps the all-woman crew was the novelty; most of the female wartime boaters worked on the Grand Union, Oxford and Coventry canals and would not have been seen very often in the Black Country. The canal here was lined by the houses of Rifle Row to the left and Lockside to the right, all of which had their front doors opening directly onto the towpath or lockside. Almost all of these had been demolished by the early 1960s. The building in the distance above the boat is the rear of the Beehive pub. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7647)

The boat emerges from the second lock of the Tipton Green flight and has caused a small crowd of onlookers (including the old boy with the flat cap) to gather. Perhaps the all-woman crew was the novelty; most of the female wartime boaters worked on the Grand Union, Oxford and Coventry canals and would not have been seen very often in the Black Country. The canal here was lined by the houses of Rifle Row to the left and Lockside to the right, all of which had their front doors opening directly onto the towpath or lockside. Almost all of these had been demolished by the early 1960s. The building in the distance above the boat is the rear of the Beehive pub. © Imperial War Museums (D 7647)

The scene today. After the infilling of the Tipton Green Locks section in the mid-1960s, the route stood derelict for about ten years until transformed into a green walkway with the second lock chamber incorporated into the landscaping. Credit: Keith Hodgkins

The scene today. After the infilling of the Tipton Green Locks section in the mid-1960s, the route stood derelict for about ten years until transformed into a green walkway with the second lock chamber incorporated into the landscaping. Keith Hodgkins

Daphne shafts the boat away from the side as they head for Union Street Bridge, between the second and third locks of the Tipton Green flight. This was almost certainly posed at the request of the photographer; there is a similar series of ‘official’ photographs of Audrey Harper on the Grand Union Canal, and such images became iconic. Note the bicycle on board and the windlass tucked into Daphne’s belt. All the buildings in the view have since disappeared, with the exception of the structure in the right distance which survives as the Tipton Conservative Club. The open space to the left shows that many of the houses which appear on the 1938 OS map have only recently been demolished. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7646)

Daphne shafts the boat away from the side as they head for Union Street Bridge, between the second and third locks of the Tipton Green flight. This was almost certainly posed at the request of the photographer; there is a similar series of ‘official’ photographs of Audrey Harper on the Grand Union Canal, and such images became iconic. Note the bicycle on board and the windlass tucked into Daphne’s belt. All the buildings in the view have since disappeared, with the exception of the structure in the right distance which survives as the Tipton Conservative Club. The open space to the left shows that many of the houses which appear on the 1938 OS map have only recently been demolished. © Imperial War Museums (D 7646)

The boat has now crossed the New Main Line and entered the Toll End Communication Canal’s top lock where there seems to be an obstruction around the propeller (or was this again posed?). Behind the wall is the Watery Lane railway–canal interchange basin which survives today as Caggy`s Boatyard. Just out of view to the right is the bridge that carries the Stour Valley line of the LMS over the canal. This railway still exists as the electrified main line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7645)

The boat has now crossed the New Main Line and entered the Toll End Communication Canal’s top lock where there seems to be an obstruction around the propeller (or was this again posed?). Behind the wall is the Watery Lane railway–canal interchange basin which survives today as Caggy`s Boatyard. Just out of view to the right is the bridge that carries the Stour Valley line of the LMS over the canal. This railway still exists as the electrified main line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham. © Imperial War Museums (D 7645)

<p>The sequence of photographs now suddenly jumps to the Walsall Canal at Ocker Hill, the preceding two miles along the Toll End Communication having sadly gone unrecorded. The boat is approaching Tame Valley Junction with its now listed cast iron roving bridges. Receding in the distance is a horse-drawn day boat fully laden with coal. The spire of Wednesbury parish church can just be made out between Daphne and <em>Heather Bell</em>&rsquo;s chimney, but the smoking stacks of John Bagnall&rsquo;s Leabrook ironworks dominate the landscape.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7654)

The sequence of photographs now suddenly jumps to the Walsall Canal at Ocker Hill, the preceding two miles along the Toll End Communication having sadly gone unrecorded. The boat is approaching Tame Valley Junction with its now listed cast iron roving bridges. Receding in the distance is a horse-drawn day boat fully laden with coal. The spire of Wednesbury parish church can just be made out between Daphne and Heather Bell’s chimney, but the smoking stacks of John Bagnall’s Leabrook ironworks dominate the landscape.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7654)

Finally the boat turns right onto the Tame Valley Canal and so will later turn left onto the Rushall Canal at Newton Junction for the run up to the Cannock coalfield, although her actual destination for loading is not recorded. There are, however, photographs in the Kit Gayford Collection of her loading at the coal chutes at Anglesey Basin probably in 1941 (see page 22). Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7655)

Finally the boat turns right onto the Tame Valley Canal and so will later turn left onto the Rushall Canal at Newton Junction for the run up to the Cannock coalfield, although her actual destination for loading is not recorded. There are, however, photographs in the Kit Gayford Collection of her loading at the coal chutes at Anglesey Basin probably in 1941 (see page 22). © Imperial War Museums (D 7655)

The scene today is dominated by the Black Country New Road, opened in 1995, which closely follows the canal between Great Bridge and Leabrook, but this western end of the Tame Valley still retains its big, bleak and lonely industrial landscape. Credit: Keith Hodgkins

The scene today is dominated by the Black Country New Road, opened in 1995, which closely follows the canal between Great Bridge and Leabrook, but this western end of the Tame Valley still retains its big, bleak and lonely industrial landscape. Keith Hodgkins

HEATHER BELL: PORTRAITS OF MOTHER & DAUGHTER

As well as recording the working of the boat and its cargo, the photographer also took the opportunity to record the more day-to-day aspects of life afloat in a charming series of images that show Daphne’s mother Margaret at work on domestic matters and Daphne in a variety of attire to suit different weathers, only two of which we have space for here.

<p>Two studies of Margaret March: preparing vegetables on the boat&rsquo;s counter; and buttering bread (in the traditional style, before cutting the slice) in <em>Heather Bell</em>&rsquo;s cabin. These pictures were probably taken when the flour was being unloaded.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7631; D 7633)

Two studies of Margaret March: preparing vegetables on the boat’s counter; and buttering bread (in the traditional style, before cutting the slice) in Heather Bell’s cabin. These pictures were probably taken when the flour was being unloaded.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7631; D 7633)

<p>Daphne posed for a series of photographs showing different clothes for different weathers.</p>Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7650; D 7653)

Daphne posed for a series of photographs showing different clothes for different weathers.

© Imperial War Museums (D 7650; D 7653)

Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7650; D 7653)

© Imperial War Museums (D 7650; D 7653)

Credit: © Imperial War Museums (D 7650; D 7653)

© Imperial War Museums (D 7650; D 7653)

TIPTON GREEN: THE CHANGING SCENE

An aerial photograph of Tipton Green taken in 1955 showing the Tipton Green Locks section between the BCN Old and New main lines. Park Lane Methodist church, seen in the first picture in this article, still stands centre right. The flour warehouse was demolished after the war and the site remained derelict until the late 1950s when it was incorporated into Coronation Gardens. Virtually all the older buildings in this picture had been demolished by the 1980s when Owen Street, to the left, was comprehensively redeveloped. Note Mitchard’s coal wharf towards the bottom left, which was still receiving coal by canal until the early 1960s. Credit: Keith Hodgkins Collection

An aerial photograph of Tipton Green taken in 1955 showing the Tipton Green Locks section between the BCN Old and New main lines. Park Lane Methodist church, seen in the first picture in this article, still stands centre right. The flour warehouse was demolished after the war and the site remained derelict until the late 1950s when it was incorporated into Coronation Gardens. Virtually all the older buildings in this picture had been demolished by the 1980s when Owen Street, to the left, was comprehensively redeveloped. Note Mitchard’s coal wharf towards the bottom left, which was still receiving coal by canal until the early 1960s. Keith Hodgkins Collection

The canals of Tipton Green from the 1938 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map. To the left is the BCN Old Main Line (Wolverhampton Level) which opened to Tipton in 1770 and was completed though to Wolverhampton and the Staffs & Worcs Canal at Aldersley Junction in 1772. The flour warehouse is coloured red. To the right is the New Main Line (Birmingham Level) which opened fully in 1838. Between them run Tipton Green Locks, which opened as a branch serving collieries on the eastern side of Tipton in 1805. A through link to the Walsall Canal was made in 1809 by extending the Tipton Green Branch to join the end of the earlier Toll End Branch. The New Main Line bisected this length at Watery Lane Junction when the section eastwards to Toll End Junction became known as the Toll End Communication Canal.

The canals of Tipton Green from the 1938 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map. To the left is the BCN Old Main Line (Wolverhampton Level) which opened to Tipton in 1770 and was completed though to Wolverhampton and the Staffs & Worcs Canal at Aldersley Junction in 1772. The flour warehouse is coloured red. To the right is the New Main Line (Birmingham Level) which opened fully in 1838. Between them run Tipton Green Locks, which opened as a branch serving collieries on the eastern side of Tipton in 1805. A through link to the Walsall Canal was made in 1809 by extending the Tipton Green Branch to join the end of the earlier Toll End Branch. The New Main Line bisected this length at Watery Lane Junction when the section eastwards to Toll End Junction became known as the Toll End Communication Canal.

<p>A 1962 photograph of Tipton Green Junction showing the Beehive pub and C.W. Mitchard&rsquo;s motor boat <em>Victory</em> returning empty to its wharf which was situated just a hundred yards further along the Old Main Line. Although officially abandoned in 1960, the top lock still looks intact. The Beehive closed in 1978 without its potential as a canalside attraction having been realised.</p>Credit: Keith Hodgkins

A 1962 photograph of Tipton Green Junction showing the Beehive pub and C.W. Mitchard’s motor boat Victory returning empty to its wharf which was situated just a hundred yards further along the Old Main Line. Although officially abandoned in 1960, the top lock still looks intact. The Beehive closed in 1978 without its potential as a canalside attraction having been realised.

Keith Hodgkins

HEATHER BELL: FROM THE KIT GAYFORD COLLECTION

Kit Gayford worked with Daphne March before moving to the training scheme on the Grand Union Canal. The photographs on this page are from her collection and may have been taken during those first trips.

<p>Sacks of flour are loaded onto <em>Heather Bell</em> at Worcester. It was a cargo similar to this that was photographed being unloaded at Tipton in 1942.</p>

Sacks of flour are loaded onto Heather Bell at Worcester. It was a cargo similar to this that was photographed being unloaded at Tipton in 1942.

<p><em>Heather Bell</em> waits her turn to load at the coal chutes close to Anglesey Basin, probably in 1941. A picture of her actually being loaded here was published in Summer 2011 NB.</p>

Heather Bell waits her turn to load at the coal chutes close to Anglesey Basin, probably in 1941. A picture of her actually being loaded here was published in Summer 2011 NB.

<p>A delightful portrait of Daphne March and &lsquo;Joss&rsquo;, although the distinctive dog does not appear on any other known photographs of <em>Heather Bell</em>.</p>

A delightful portrait of Daphne March and ‘Joss’, although the distinctive dog does not appear on any other known photographs of Heather Bell.

<p>Daphne&rsquo;s brother Christopher March at the tiller of <em>Heather Bell</em> with their mother Margaret looking out of the hatches. This, and possibly the other photographs on this page, were probably taken in Autumn 1941 when Christopher was on leave from the Merchant Navy. Note the name on the cabin side is &lsquo;C. March&rsquo;, whereas in the 1942 photographs it is &lsquo;C&amp;D March&rsquo;</p>

Daphne’s brother Christopher March at the tiller of Heather Bell with their mother Margaret looking out of the hatches. This, and possibly the other photographs on this page, were probably taken in Autumn 1941 when Christopher was on leave from the Merchant Navy. Note the name on the cabin side is ‘C. March’, whereas in the 1942 photographs it is ‘C&D March’

<p><em>Heather Bell</em> unloading flour at Tipton. On this occasion the dress suggests that this is Margaret rather than Daphne hanging the sacks on.</p>

Heather Bell unloading flour at Tipton. On this occasion the dress suggests that this is Margaret rather than Daphne hanging the sacks on.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Mike Constable for his assistance in the compilation of this article and in particular with this page.