A glimpse of life at Sennicotts during WWII

Victor & Mary Willis celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary
Victor & Mary Willis celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary
Victor & Mary Willis on their wedding day in October 1943
Victor & Mary Willis on their wedding day in October 1943

In the early years of the Second World War a Norfolk girl from Upwell by the name of Kathleen Mary Chapman (W/10633) was posted with the ATS first to the Mitcham Road Barracks in Croydon (1939), before moving further South to Walberton House, West Sussex (1940), then briefly at Fifehead Manor in Hampshire before arriving at Sennicotts in 1941.

What was to happen to Mary at Sennicotts would be life changing.

For in the same year 1615739 Gnr Victor Willis was also stationed at Sennicotts. Home for Victor had been Deptford and Dulwich.

A romance started at Sennicotts that year between Mary and Victor which was to survive being separated by subsequent postings and in October 1943 they were married in Beddington, Croydon.

In 1949 they moved from London to Portsmouth where they were to live for the rest of their lives. They had two sons Doug and Mick and the marriage lasted 55 years. Victor died 12 Feb 1998 aged 81 and Mary died 15 Jan 2011 aged 97.

The photographs below give a flavour of those months Mary spent at Sennicotts.

Our thanks go to Doug and Mick Willis who both researched their parents’s experiences during the war, made contact with us to share their family’s story, and gave us permission to share with you this wonderful piece of Sennicotts’ history. Thank you both.

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