100 continuous years of Coggan generations living in Stratford sub Castle - page 3

Patrick  Coggan  (grandson of Reginald) - continued from page 2


While preparing for this article, Richard came across a letter written by Pat about an American GI.

During WW2 my brother John and I used to be sent on our bicycles, into Salisbury on Sundays, to invite two GIs to tea. It was a scheme run by Red Cross to encourage "entente cordial" with the troops from USA. Some were interested, some were bored stiff, all were polite. One of the more interested was John Gray, a sergeant and a bit older than most. He was a farmer and a farmer's son. During his time off he used to help on our farm - hay-making and cereal harvesting - in the days before combined harvesters.


He used to help pitch (load) sheaves on to wagons, which were then hauled into the rick-yard. Our farm men used to think GIs soft because they wore gloves, but John Gray soon showed his skill, he could pitch sheaves faster and more accurately than any of us - gloves or no !


He wrote home to his wife Sally and told her about our food rationing, and the very meagre amounts of butter and cheese, sugar and meat etc that we were allowed. She - bless her - started sending us food parcels, another scheme run by Red Cross.


John Gray was killed on a beach in northern France on D-day +2.


Sally - bless her again - continued sending food parcels until after the war ended and while rationing continued. Of course, we all wrote to thank her for her generosity, but it was 1986 before I had the chance to meet Sally personally. We stayed three nights with her and her second husband Colonel Wallace White, at their home in Carlisle, Pa. As I left, I thanked her again, she and I both had tears

in our eyes. We continued on our trip, via Australia to visit our son Richard, daughter-in-law Susan

and grandson Simon, and then back to Salisbury UK.


Waiting at home in a great heap of letters was one from Wallace. Sally had died only a week or so after we met.

Richard thought this a very poignant story, but it was made more so when, the very next day, he received an email from his cousin Michele (John Coggan’s eldest daughter) with some old photos of Pat and John in their youth. Among the photos was this one of John Gray with the brothers at Stonehenge .

John Gray with Pat & John Coggan at Stonehenge.jpg

Richard, Mary and Philip (great grandchildren of Reginald)

The early lives of Pat and Audrey’s children were spent in the Old Parsonage House, where the family lived until 1962, when they moved across the road to the new cedarwood bungalow built for them.

Richard recalls:


While memories are hazy about life in the old house, due to our young age, there are plenty of photos to jog our memories. Pat was a keen video camera user, and he recorded part of my first school day walk, out of the house drive and towards Stratford school. I don’t know if my memory is of the actual event, or from watching the movie several times over the following years.

Mary & Richard Coggan outside Aunt Doris' kitchen.jpg

Mary & Richard outside Aunt Doris' kitchen 

Side view of Parsonage Farm House.jpg

Side view of Parsonage Farmhouse, with verandah still intact




Philip, Mary, & Richard in Swan School uniform >

Mary & Philip in pedal car.jpg

Mary & Philip in favourite pedal car.

In the background are the cattle stalls. Does anyone know what is there now?

Philip, Mary, Richard in Swan School Uniform.jpg

Richard and Philip went to the Swan School in Salisbury, and then to Dauntseys School at West Lavington, where they both boarded. Phil changed to Lackham Agricultural College for his A level years. Mary went to La Retraite School in Salisbury.

Major road wokrs in Stratford Road, possibly sewerage main.jpg

Can anyone confirm this is the laying of the sewerage pipes, possibly in 1958?

From Richard Coggan:

One early memory I have, was when the sewerage main was being installed through the village. I spent some time watching the progression of this major works, and must have become friendly with the road roller driver, who let me sit on the driver's seat and pretend to drive. In return I fetched some hay to feed the brass horse embossed on the front of the roller.


My sister Mary sent me this photo of road works

in front of Parsonage Farmhouse. 

Richard Coggan (great grandson of Reginald)

Finishing school in 1972, Richard spent 14 months working on the farm. During this time, in early 1973 the farm was hit by the swine vesicular disease. Due to its similar symptoms to foot and mouth disease, the government had a slaughter policy for all pig stock on affected properties. Consequently, the entire stock of around 400 pigs were slaughtered on site. A massive funeral pyre of straw bales and coal was built in the paddock opposite the farmyard, across Stratford Road. Richard moved all the carcases across the road by tractor and trailer. After each crossing, the road was hosed down with disinfectant. The funeral pyre burned for days. Afterwards, a long pit was dug and all ashes and remains bulldozed into the pit, followed by a coating of lime, before being covered in soil again. This was a dark time for Pat, as it was 5 months before we were allowed to start restocking pigs. One side benefit was the family were retrieving coal from the site, to use at home, for many years afterwards.


Between 1973 to 75 Richard attended Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry, gaining a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies. After completing studies Richard returned to work at Parsonage Farm, this time mainly in the office, doing the accounts for the farm and the milling company. By this time Mark Salter had been employed as stockman, a position he would hold for 20 years, continuing after the farm yard was sold, as Pat continued to raise beef cattle, now based from the barn that still exists in the paddock below Old Sarum.

In October 1976 Richard embarked on a travel adventure, purchasing a 12 month round the world plane ticket. He eventually returned to Stratford twenty months later, just in time to celebrate Pat and Audrey’s 25th wedding anniversary in June 1978. The return was to be short lived, as Richard had met and fallen in love with a young Australian lady, Susan Turner.


Susan visited Stratford in December 78-January 79, during which time she and Richard got engaged. He emigrated to Australia in April 1979, and they were married in the May. Salisbury Journal wrote an article at the time and published this picture.

Richard & Susan Coggan engagement.jpg

L-R  Mary, Pat, Richard (holding upside down globe), Phil and Audrey.

A little side track here.........

Jack Coggan sold Dairy Cottage to Jack Edwards, who owned Edwards Garage in Castle St, Salisbury. In the 1960’s Jack (Edwards) built a house in his garden, for his son Michael and wife to live. The land was later sub divided. The house name is Mistral, and is now owned by John and Elizabeth Winders.


Mistral is next door to Parsonage Farm cottage, and John and Elizabeth were very supportive neighbours to Pat and Audrey. John was also Richard Coggan’s physics teacher at Dauntseys School. Richard was obviously not a memorable student, as John has no recollection of him as a student. Admittedly, Richard asked John this question several decades after leaving school.


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