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Autumn 2010

Once again, the November issue has a military theme, this time particularly looking at World War Two.

Our lead article comes from Janet, who vividly describes her childhood in Devon during the war, Chrissie Smiff tells us of her husband’s wartime experiences as a child in Wales, and Jill Harwood describes the life of local children and evacuees in Haywards Heath through the log books of St Wilfrid’s CP School. anniern describes the part played by one of her mother’s cousins in the struggle to keep the nation fed, while in the meantime, Len of the Chilterns was serving in the Army.

Simon writes about his great uncle who served in both World Wars, Velma Dinkley writes about Newhaven Fort and its role in defending the English coast, and also tells us about a very special clothes brush which belonged to her grandmother.  We have an article about the Halifax explosion in 1917 from jenoco and jennie tells us about a member of her husband’s family who was awarded a Victoria Cross in World War One.

This, the 30th issue of the magazine, will be the last in this form. Since the first issue, we have published almost 500 articles by 135 different authors, many  of them contributing more than one. We would like to thank them all, since without them there would have been no magazine! 

Velma Dinkley, Caroline and jenoco

My Little Brown Suitcase, Rabbits and Junket

When the Second World War started I lived in Plymouth, the city that had been granted 'neutral zone status', because it was decided that it was too far to the south west for the German bombers to reach. In 1939 there were no plans to evacuate the children from this...

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Boyhood Wartime Memories

In June 1986, my husband and I went on honeymoon to Wales, and whilst we were there he asked if I wouldn’t mind if we went to look for the cottage in Llwyngwril, which his father had rented during the Second World War, so that he and his mother could be close to him. ...

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Served in WW2

I was called up for military service in 1942, shortly after my 18th birthday. Many of my school friends likewise went into the forces. I didn't particularly want to go as I had only just started work and wanted to get on with my career. Having been given the option, I...

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A VC in the family

My husband’s family has been particularly difficult to research as his grandmother didn’t want to get in contact with some of her relatives, so I’ve had to ‘eke’ out snippets of information, which has so far taken me 10 years. Her uncle was, apparently, a down to...

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Corporal or Major, OBE or MC ……. or perhaps not?

My dad's uncle, Hugh Benson, was born on 28th July 1882. His early childhood was spent living in a large house called 'The Mount' in Sparepenny Lane, Farningham, Kent, with his father William, mother Marion, older brother Alick (1879) and younger sister Marjorie...

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School log books from WW2

St Wilfrid’s CP School in Haywards Heath, Sussex, is fortunate in that it has logbooks for the years of the Second World War from the infant department, kept daily by the head of infants. The infant building also survives, standing at the junction of the two main...

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Digging for Victory

Napoleon famously said that, "an army marches on its stomach", and during the Second World War the home front played an important role in keeping the British population and the soldiers fed despite a German naval blockade.  Sailors risked their lives to bring in...

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Halifax Explosion of 1917

At 9:05 a.m. on Thursday December 6, 1917, the world’s largest man-made explosion before the nuclear bomb shook Halifax, Nova Scotia. Through human error, the 'Imo', a Norwegian relief ship bound for Belgium, had collided with the 'Mont Blanc', a French munitions...

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Newhaven Fort

Newhaven Fort sits on the chalk cliff overlooking the entrance of Newhaven Harbour, awaiting an invasion which never came.  It was designed and built under the supervision of a Lieutenant John Charles Ardagh, on the site of a Bronze Age and later a Roman Fort, known...

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The Clothes Brush

Velma's grandmother c1917 When I was growing up, a clothes brush used to sit on a small shelf underneath the mirror of a coat rack in our hall. In my mind, it was just a normal everyday item and I really took no notice of it. It wasn’t until I started researching my...

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