21 January 2011


I hope everyone managed to hear the BBC radio show about Baroness Mary Warnock during the week. The show's title was "The House I Grew Up In" and described her childhood in Winchester. And the house she grew up in is now better known as Kelso House.

07 January 2011

What Memories?!

As I said, I have a devil of a job distinguishing true memories from what I've been told about events at which I was present in the dim and distant. Your comments on my previous post have made me realise just how very little I truly remember of WW2 in Chandler's Ford.

I believe that my earliest true memory is of being woken and frightened to death by what I thought were scary faces (they were actually roses) on the printed eiderdown cover, having felt the bodies of my parents, lying on either side of me under the Morrison shelter, tense from the sound of warfare. Chandler's Ford received some bombs  and V1 overshoots, which, as well as demolishing a few dwellings, brought down a ceiling in our bungalow in Park Road - and the sudden opening up of the mobile ack-ack battery had a similar effect! I suspect that it was the fear element that has caused this memory to stick, likewise that of the barrage balloon outside Eastleigh library, which I was afraid to walk under when it was wound down.

Shock and embarrassment are probably the reasons why I've retained other memories . . .  My father's job afforded him access to security sensitive establishments and he sometimes took me with him. No doubt the essence of the 'loose lips sink ships' dictum was drummed into me, however, on a visit to the relocated Supermarine factory at Hursley Park I spotted an unfamiliar 'plane, with no propeller, and was unable to resist blurting this out whereupon my father hurried me back to the car and gave me a right royal dressing down - I had become a security risk! Later research suggests that the 'plane I'd seen was a prototype jet, possibly of the Attacker, which was built at Hursley during the war. I remember too being scolded for disobeying orders and going too near to my father's loaded rifle, which he kept for the duration beside his armchair.

As I mentioned before, in the run-up to D-Day I'm told that I was given much attention by American troops parked up outside. I put this down to my mother being something of a 'looker'! I've uploaded a pic. to my 'Pip's Pics.' album, which shows me (don't laugh!) wearing a US army cap in our front garden. The dark shapes beyond the garden wall are the parked up military vehicles. This image comes from the central fragment of a landscape view Box Brownie negative. The only reason I can think of for this negative having been so purposefully mutilated is censorship.

I'd be most interested to learn more about war-time in Chandler's Ford so do keep those comments coming.


04 January 2011

The Ignominious Pupil Revolt of 1956

Not our finest hour perhaps but a part of our history nonetheless. I was there but find it hard to recall, maybe because being a day-boy with plenty of other interests my memory card was already maxed out - that and the fact that these days I'm rubbish at distinguishing true memories of long past events from hearsay, or even wishful thinking! For example, I remember as a young child being played with and fed candy and gum by American soldiers while they waited for D day - well, no, actually I don't remember, however, I do have a photograph to prove it!! - but that's another story.

Doc's death that year brought a sudden end to the 'old order', which probably affected us more deeply that we realised. With the resentment felt over what was thought to be an unnecessarily harsh interregnum during which time Mr Simpson, I believe, held the reins, and the uncertainty about our future, things started to unravel big-time. There were various peaceful protests, such as hymn-singing strikes, and I did hear a certain uncorroborated report of an incident involving Mr Simpson being lowered out of the chemistry lab window in a basket! One day there was, I believe, a boycott of lessons and a general milling about outside when newspaper reporter(s) showed up and were hurriedly shooed away by staff. I was told that at least one piece on our 'troubles' was published in the 'Telegraph', but I don't remember seeing it.

And that is about all that I can bring to mind, which is very irksome, so I hope that some of you guys can confirm, correct, and elucidate?