Salisbury (Sarum) Probus Club

Sarum Probus Club is an organisation for retired men living in the Salisbury Area.


  • The Battle of Britain in Wiltshire.

    John Smith gave us a talk on the Battle of Britain in Wiltshire on 28th February 2020. He opened by pointing out that Middle Wallop is the only Battle of Britain base still in operational use.

    The base was originally set up as a bomber rather than a fighter base.

    Gloucester Gladiators were to fight against German Dornier 17 bombers. It was assumed that the bombers would come without fighter escort from German bases. Consequently all radar stations were set up along the East Coast. With the occupation of France all RAF tactical assumptions proved completely out of date. The Gloucester Gladiators proved quite inadequate against escorting fighters.

    By comparison the Spitfire had 8 guns, 250 yards firing distance and was 104 miles per hour faster. However, the task for the Spitfires of no 10 group was to intimidate the Irish and help prevent the Luftwaffe getting landing rights in Ireland.

    Eventually night fighters were moved to Middle Wallop. The Black Panthers were the earliest fighters equipped with radar. They also were the most heavily armed fighters. They destroyed about 100 German bombers.

    Middle Wallop also captured an enemy bomber.

    It turned out that a German captain deserted with his aircraft and its crew near Salisbury by crash landing his plane.

  • Arudells

    On 13th March 2020 John Potter gave a talk to the Club, entitled “Arundells.”

    John began by relating how he came to be associated with Arundells, through a friend who held a prominent place on the Board of Trustees. Support was needed by active, sympathetic people at a very difficult time for the future of the house and John was drawn in.

    The house was originally built in the 13th century at the same time as the Cathedral and the Canon who occupied it, Edmund Blunston, would have watched the iconic spire being added stone by stone.

    It remained the home of a Cathedral Canon until the 18th century when it was acquired on a tenancy by a merchant, John Wyndham, who refaced the house and gave it the “Queen Anne” look we still see today. The house took the name “Arundells” from John Wyndham’s son-in-law, Lord Arundell, and the Arundell family kept the tenancy until 1803.

    It then had a chequered history; at one time partly a Jesuit Presbytery, then a Girls’ School and later a Boys’ School. In World War II it was used by the Red Cross. During this period of change the house fell into disrepair. It was acquired by the Hawkins’ family in the 1960’s and they did some restoration work, but the major work of refurbishment came about after Edward Heath purchased it in 1985.

    The house is now a memorial to the life of Edward Heath and a setting for the many artefacts he acquired during his long and interesting life.

    There are family photos and photos of the famous people he met in the course of his travels as Prime Minister and as a member of Parliament and Government.

    There are souvenirs of his sailing career in the various versions of Morning Cloud along with paintings by such celebrities as Churchill, Epstein and Piper. The House and grounds have many interesting features, including a piano used by Edward Heath which visitors are welcome to play.

    John was glad to see that many club members have already visited the house but hoped the Club as a group might wish to make arrangements for a further tour, which he would be glad to lead.

    Members asked questions and supplied several personal anecdotes about their association with the house.

    This was a very well presented talk and much appreciated by Club members present.

  • Here are details of some earlier talks given to the Club.
  • If talks or trips out like this interest you, why not join us. Contact the secretary (01722 340508, 07553787345) or email