Derrick Francis Douglas Christopherson

In St Matthew’s Churchyard, Coates, the headstone of the former Warden of Bledisloe Lodge, Derrick Christopherson (1911-59), stands to right of the pathway from the south gate. Noting his early death at age 48, I wondered if he had suffered stress caused by his boisterous ‘Ag’ student residents. So, I began to research the story of this man, who throughout the 1950s was a significant person in our village. August 2019 was the 60th anniversary of his death. My research uncovered as many questions as answers.

Born to an affluent family, with homes in Belgravia, London, and a farm in Kent, Derrick attended Winchester College. During WWII, Derrick served in North Africa as an RASC officer, but then in Italy served as a guardsman, before promotion to Sergeant-Major. His brother was a much-decorated war hero who became colonel of his regiment. In 1946/7, Derrick studied at the Cirencester RAC before returning, after a time farming in Kent, to become a popular Warden at Coates. He died after a short illness in Cirencester’s Memorial Hospital. A great many College and community members attended his funeral, but no close family, except possibly two cousins.

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