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Memories of Dad's Army on location in Bressingham

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We’ve been the proud home of the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society’s collection of artifacts and memorabilia since 2000 so we thought it high time we investigated the area’s links to the prestigious TV series.

We spoke to local resident Diana Burroughes - wife of the late Eric Burroughes who’s family owned Walnut Tree Farm in Bressingham where sections of Dad’s Army were filmed.

How did the Farm come to be associated with Dad’s Army?

The farm was involved with the series because someone called Harold Snoad, who was responsible for finding locations for Dad’s Army at the time, contacted Eric and asked if they could use his farm as a location initially for a single episode titled “All is safely gathered in”.

Harold went on to direct episodes of Dad’s Army but is better known for directing another classic BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.

He had already found the Steam engines he wanted featured in the episode here at Bressingham Steam Museum and, presumably for convenience sake, was looking for somewhere close by for other scenes in the episode.

The working threshing tackle machine that they used (it appears 13 mins 31 seconds into the episode) was owned by the Hoskins family who lived in the nearby village of Fersfield.

How did you come to be involved with the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society?

Well, that all follows on really.

Having had two episodes filmed at the farm (after “All is safely gathered in” another episode “Brain Vs. Brawn” was also filmed at Walnut tree farm), someone called Tony Pritchard contacted us (about 20 years ago) about the farm’s connection to Dad’s Army.

Tony is one of two people who run the Dad’s Army association (the other being a chap called Paul Carpenter) - He asked us if we had any photographs taken at the time of the filming.

Eric initially wasn’t terribly keen on them being given to anybody - but eventually, with a certain amount of my persuasion, he did decide to let them scan the photo’s and documents from the period.

As a result Tony turned up here one day by arrangement and came in to see Eric to borrow the photographs.

I remember it as clear as yesterday.  When I looked out of the back of the house I could see that there was someone sitting in Tony’s parked car.

I went out to see the person and ask if they’d like to come in (thinking it might be Tony’s wife) and, to my amazement, it was Bill Pertwee!

Bill went on to visit the house often and I went on to know him very well.

That’s how it all began - over the years I became more involved with the Appreciation Society and, latterly, less involved as I’m getting older.  My name still appears in the magazine every time it comes out as being one of the people who helps out.

What are your fondest memories of being involved in Dad’s Army?

Eric had known David Croft (Dad’s Army series writer) - The Crofts only lived at Honington which isn’t far away. My husband had bumped into him on various occasions previous to the episodes being filmed.

I got to know them very well indeed - especially Ann Croft, David’s wife.  She was one of my closest friend up until she died in June 2016.

I went to the premiere of the new Dad’s Army film with her a year last January and stayed in London together.  We were really very close.

By Alastair Baker at 26 Apr 2017, 00:00 AM