Friday, 7 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.


'Pip'


6 comments:

  1. It really is amazing how memory breaks into double time then relapses into dead stop mode, I have little to add to the Chandlersford area except a brief '53 stint delivering telegrams, but I have contact with a John and Gloria Sibson now residents of the Gold Coast here in Queensland they have just been back to Chamdlersford for a couple of months and sent me some pix of Eastleigh etc, needless to say many changes have been made, but since my eldest is getting wed in Elgin Morayshire in December I will most likel;y make a detour and see the changes for myself. For anyone who wishes John & Gloria's email is j.g.sibson@bigpond.com Further on Chandlersford last year John & Gloria lent me a couple of books (historical data) on Chandlersford & the development of the Eastleigh railways - fascinating reading.

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  2. Further to my previous, when the Yanks went to France,their dumps contained strange thing called Biros.The Hiltingbury camps after the war became DP camps, mainly Poles. I did a couple of years at Christmas doing parcel posts in that area.
    Inadvertently in 1944 we managed to get to Netley to see a family friend and saw all the ships ready to go to Normandy.We were stopped on the way back & told we shouldn't have been allowed to enter the area. On the next visit there was nothing left to see.
    Strangely enough I only found out about 15 years ago that my father is buried in Netley War Cemetery. Parents didn't talk about some things to their offspring.

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  3. An aunt of mine had one of those early Biros - it leaked dreadfully!

    Does anyone know of the strafing of Park Road by a returning lone German raider? Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I have no memory of this. I was told about it by my parents, and I don't know exactly when it occurred. Apparently my father answered urgent knockings at the door to find a quaking passer-by demanding shelter having seen bullets thudding into our front lawn. He let him in, of course, but hadn't the heart to mention that our bungalow's thin asbestos roof slates and plaster ceilings would afford little protection from such aerial attack!

    I've just noticed that the incident is mentioned in the excellent book on Chandler's Ford by Barbara Hillier, a classmate of mine at primary school, and I quote "A German aircraft flew from a Northerly direction through the village, machine-gunning as it went. It finally flew off towards Eastleigh"


    'Pip'

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  4. Re: the comment about 'cinder verges' on C/Fs 'back' streets for military vehicles, I seem to remember many of these roads still unsurfaced years after the war with some having wide concrete verges, presumably laid to take the weight of tanks and other heavy vehicles parked up waiting for the off. The concrete was still there in 1960, although the roads themselves by that time had been surfaced - see the postcard of Hiltingbury that I've uploaded to my 'Pip's Pics.' album.

    'Pip'

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  5. The pilot of a Junkers 87 Stuka would line up his aircraft so that his bombs would straddle the level crossing on Mount Pleasant Road in Southampton at the point where the railway line fanned out into about ten sidings making it a prime target. In June 1940 we were evacuated from the Channel Islands to the house next to that crossing and although I was only four I remember the air raids and the screaming whistles on the planes and the thunder of the bombs around us. Mercifully we didn't stay long, moving to the peace of Rippondon House on Bereweeke Road next to the outer playing field where the Townsend family kindly took my mother and her two boys in.

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  6. Living as I did during the War in Factory road with Pirellis factory at one end and the Railway Junction at the other, one particular occasion comes to mind whilst we were swinging from a rope on the lamp post outside Hann's dairy, my older brother gathered us (3) up and pushed us under the privet hedge as a lone plane continued to use up its ammunition after leaving the railway and heading to Pirellis, I do not recall any outcome to the event except a lack of enthusiasm to play there since shortly afterward my brother joined the Artillery.

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