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VOELCKER, Dennis Cooke (1902-1984) - of the Indian Army and Field Farm, Wickhamford

Field Farm, Longdon Hill, Wickhamford

Dennis Voelcker owned Field Farm in Wickhamford from 1953 until mid-1963.  On 15th October 1954, the Evesham Standard reported on the third of a series of farm visits arranged by the Agricultural Land Service.  On this occasion a number of farms in the Evesham district were visited, including Field Farm.  It was said to have consisted of 145 acres, with milking parlours and a new stockman’s cottage.  Col. D. C. Voelcker had undertaken many improvements to the farm buildings.  £1,800 had been spent on the connections of water, electricity, sewage and the installation of modern cooking and water-heating equipment.

Family Background

Dennis Cooke Voelcker was born on 17th September 1902, in St Marylebone, London.  He was the son of Dr Arthur Francis Voelcker, a Cirencester-born physician and his wife Katharine Isobel.  At the 1911 census, the family were living at 101 Harley Street and there were six children (aged 5 to 15) in the 21-roomed household, plus five servants.  During the 1920s, members of this family were on the Polling Register in Marhamchurch, Cornwall, including Dennis, but he was pursuing a military career in India.

Dr Arthur Voelcker was the fourth son of German-born John Christopher Augustus Voelcker FRS, who was, in 1849, the first Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.

Military Career

Dennis Voelcker’s Army service record started soon after the end of the Great War.  He joined the Indian Army as a 2nd Lieutenant on 31st August 1922.  He rose to Lieutenant in November 1924, Captain in August 1931 and Major in August 1939.  From November 1923 he was with the 20th Lancers.

He was promoted to Acting Lt.-Colonel during 1941 and 1943, becoming a temporary officer of that rank at the end of 1943.  He was a full Lt.-Colonel from August 1948 and retired from active service in December 1948.  He remained as a Regular Army Reserve Officer with the 15th/19th Hussars from 1st January 1949 until 15th February 1958, aged 55.  From May 1935 until May 1938 he was an instructor at the Indian Equitation School.  In 1941, he was on the Education Establishment.

Family Life

Dennis Voelcker married Sylvia Hope Ruxton in the Chard area of Somerset in mid-1938.  The Taunton Courier of 9th July 1938 reported on their wedding.  She was the daughter of Captain W. G. Ruxton R.N. of Upton, Seavington.  (Records show that she previously sailed to Bombay from England on 21st August 1937.)

A daughter, Gillian Anne, was born in Bombay, India in 1942. A second daughter was Jemima Suzannah.  Both of these were married in Wickhamford in 1963, shortly before their parents left the village.  Jemima married Alistair Richard Watkin Rooth on 20th April and Gillian married John Seton Howard Gordon on 4th May.  They became Baron and Baroness of Abergeldie, Aberdeenshire in 1965.

Dennis Voelcker died in Kington, Herefordshire in 1984 and his wife, Sylvia, died there in 1999.

Tom Locke – March 2020