Buckmaster, Reginald John (1904-1994)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

REGINALD JOHN BUCKMASTER: born in Battersea on 17th November 1904. He trained at Hartley Victoria College and served in the following circuits: London Mission (South East), London Mission (Plumstead), London Mission (South), Darlaston (Pinfold Street), London Mission (Hackney and Clapton), London Mission (North and Central), Upwell and Manea, and Hunts Mission as an active supernumerary. 

Reg felt called to the ministry, but had to work as a salesman in the bakery industry to raise enough money to go to college. Hartley College in 1928 was a formative time, but after two years he was sent to St George’s Hall in the Old Kent Road and then to Plumstead. His long engagement to Kathleen (ministers had to wait until four years of probation were accomplished) culminated in their marriage. They went to Locksfield Hall in the London Mission (South) circuit, where they stayed until the end of the war. Locksfield Hall became the only building in a sea of rubble and bombed-out houses. Their daughter Maureen had to be sent away to the country for her safety and for a long time only saw her parents on visits. Kathleen entertained people in the deep shelters as part of a concert party while Reg, as one of the few ministers left in the area, developed a ministry to people in the shelter as well as providing clothes for people who had lost their possessions in the bombing. 

After the war Reg and Kathleen went to Pleck, in the Darlaston (Pinfold Street) circuit, but for only three years, because it was back to London for 11 years, beginning at Clapton Park Tabernacle. This was an old building, so Reg negotiated for the site of a redundant Baptist church and the new Clapton Park church was built and is still in use today. Here Reg’s interest in youth was exhibited    Group Scoutmaster and London County Scout chaplain for Reg, and Guide leader and Sunday school teacher for Kathleen. After 11 years at Clapton Reg was sent to be minister of Archway Central Hall — a church that before the war had over 700 members. While Reg was minister ten classes met — some small, one of over 40 members — which contributed to the life of the church. 

Unfortunately Reg’s health became such that he asked to be released and went to the circuit now known as Fenland until his retirement — active retirement, since as an active supernumerary he was the chaplain of Papworth Hospital during the early years of heart transplants. Then Reg and Kathleen moved to their retirement home in the Chelmsford circuit, where he began 14 years as a chaplain to the large general hospital. During this time, Kathleen died and left Reg alone, but it made no difference to his preaching and pastoral work, which continued into his ninetieth year. 

Reg is remembered with great affection, as a well-read, deep-thinking minister, always well-prepared in the pulpit. He was also known nationally as he and his long-time college friend John Wiffen were joint pastoral secretaries of the Ministers’ and Widows’ Aid Association of the ex-Primitive Methodist Church. He died on the 14th July 1994 in the ninetieth year of his life and the sixty-fourth year of his ministry.

Family

Reginald was born on 17 November 1904 at Battersea, London, to parents John Thomas Buckmaster, an ironmonger shopkeeper (1911), and Catherine Lillie May.

He married Kathleen Maud Collins (1901-1985) in the summer of 1934 at Edmonton, Middlesex. Records identify one daughter.

  • Maureen (b1936)

Reginald died in July 1994 at Frinton on Sea, Essex.

Circuits

  • Hartley
  • 1930 London M, SE
  • 1934 Plumstead
  • 1937 London South
  • 1945 Darlaston
  • 1948 London Hackney
  • 1959 London Mission, N
  • 1963 Upwell &c
  • 1970 Hunts Mission (Sup)

References

Methodist Minutes 1995/30

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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