From Docking to a place in history
Saint Henry Walpole
Henry Walpole was born in Docking in 1558, and was martyred for his Catholic faith. Along with 39 other English martyrs, he was canonised by Pope Paul VI at a special ceremony held at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City in Rome on 25th October 1970. In the same year the Roman Catholic Church in Burnham Market was dedicated to Saint Henry.
Find out about his life and martyrdom on this page.
Padre George Smith
Padre George Smith, born in Docking on 8th January 1845, was an unmistakable man, about six feet tall with a long red beard. He served as a missionary in South Africa from 1870 and is best remembered for his part in the Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu War of 1877-79.
He played a role in the defence of the mission station, in Natal Province, by keeping the 139 soldiers of the 24th Regiment of Foot supplied with ammunition as they successfully fended off an attack by about 4,500 Zulu warriors. After the battle he was regularly referred to as “Ammunition Smith”. Despite playing such an important support role in the battle, when the film “Zulu” which stared Michael Caine was made, no mention was made of Padre Smith. After South Africa he was a chaplain in many theatres of war including Egypt and the Sudan. He later served in posts in England before retiring to Preston in Lancashire, where he died in November 1918.
Dr W E Ripper
Dr Walter Eugene Ripper was a farmer and landowner in Docking. Born in Vienna in 1908, he was a world-renowned agricultural scientist and skilled entomologist. He left Austria and moved to America where he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before moving to England where, together with Sir Guy Marshall, he embarked on the pesticidal control of insects with the formation of Pest Control Ltd. This company eventually was absorbed by Fisons and became Fison Pest Control.
It was during mid-1950s that Dr Ripper entered into a partnership with Dow Chemical at Kings Lynn where he built a factory. He left Dow to concentrate on running his spray contract business in the Sudan.
It was while piloting one of the companies planes on 21th March 1965, on flight from Athens to Naples, that Dr Ripper was killed when the plane he was in crashed on a remote mountainside about 40 miles west of Corinth in Greece. He was 57.
During his career Dr Ripper was chairman of Ripper Robots, founder and managing director of Pest Control (1938-1953), vice-chairman of Fison Pest Control Ltd (1953-1958), and managing director of Dow Agrochemicals (1958-1962). In 1940 he introduced the first synthetic selective herbicide to Britain.
With a lifetime’s experience in pest and weed control, Dr Ripper’s main work was devoted to the better and more fruitful production of crops, which gave a better return to farmers and helped increase food production, the results of which we still benefit from today. The village hall in Docking, The Dr W E Ripper Memorial Hall, is dedicated to his memory.