Saturday, 19 April 2014
Bearing in mind that I was only 4 years old when war broke out, I can only really recall snippets of memories about the war, little fleeting snapshots so to speak.
I remember the railings on the wall of what I have always called the Crabtree Rec being cut down, when I last looked the stubs were still there. The whole of that field was ploughed and sown with sugar beet. My grandfather dug up by far the largest half of our front garden and sowed spring onions. I recall seeing other vegetables in peoples front gardens, things like lettuce and beetroot instead of flowers, the leaves were colourful anyway.
Another thing was the seemingly endless street collections of pennies to buy a Spitfire. Lining up pennies on the kerb, to get a mile of pennies was another way of collecting cash, can't imagine Lancing ever achieved a mile, but we tried...... Any old scrap metal was collected including old kettles and saucepans. I remember the lorry collecting all the scrap metal loaded with old bikes and, well almost anything.
We lived on the only north/south main road through the village and closer to D day lots of tanks and other vehicles would pass our front door. We sat on the front wall writing down the numbers and nicknames of the tanks and other armoured cars, we watched as some of the drivers attempting to turn the corner by The Farmers misjudged it and the tracks chewed up the kerbstones
As I said, mini memories
Shortly after I was born, our little family moved to Lancing, into a house in Myrtle Crescent, I am sure it was next to the Prior family and Roy who you have interviewed was one of them. My sister was born at this address in 1938. I can't give you dates but shortly after we moved to an address at the station end of Tower Road.
When war broke out my father was not enlisted into the army, he was a bricklayer and was wanted in the midlands and north midlands to do bomb repair work in places like Coventry, Nuneaton, Warrington and others.
My mother who was concerned about being on her own with two small children decided to move in with her parents in one of the two semi detached thatched cottages opposite the"The Farmers", roughly where "The Pantry" is now.
Being thatched the roof was highly combustible, just the thought of an incendiary bomb was worrying.
During the early part of the war when German bombing was at its height my grandfather would do his fire picket job, i.e. standing at the door, just watching.. I can recall him standing just outside with a lighted pipe turned upside down in case the German pilots should see the glow. We had a large blanket draped over the inside of the door, 1) to stop any light escaping when Grandad popped in to get warm and, 2) to stop any draughts.
My mothers main concern was on moonlit nights, the light would be reflected off the very shiny glazed roof tiles on "The Farmers" hotel. They were much shinier then, and let the enemy pilots know where we were.
During that time there was an anti aircraft gun on the south side of what would become the road bridge at the bottom end of Grinstead Lane. When there was a raid on it could get quite noisy.
Another thing I remember at this time was the German doodle bugs. They made a very distinctive sound. We didn't get too many this way, although I think one did drop on the farm just north of Lancing College. whilst in school if one was heard the whole class, teacher included would be silent except for little soft whispers of "Keep going, Keep going,Keep going".
Saturday, 12 April 2014
My name is George Forrest I was born in 1935 in Worthing but moved to Lancing before my third birthday. I moved out to live in Brighton For 50 years. I now have Parkinson's, hence the reason for returning to Lancing, It is flat. Parkinson's makes me tire very quickly, so I hope you will bear with me. I have recently been visiting Chesham House and have acquired a copy of Lancing Village memories (edition 2). Some of the stories took me back. During the war years we, my mother, my younger sister and I lived with my maternal grandparents in the thatched cottages opposite the "Farmers", roughly where the "Rainbow" is now.
My grandfather was a market gardener employed by Frank Fuller whose ground was on the north side of Sompting Road. where "Rosecroft" is now. Rosecroft was the name of Frank Fullers house. Almost opposite was Lishers coal yard and stables for his cart horses. We always had to be lifted up to see over the bottom half of the door the horses in their stable. I believe it was Sid Lisher , but I could well be wrong. Lishers coal yard was a small siding which held about 6 - 8 coal wagons. There the Lishers men would weigh and bag up the coal, put it onto the cart ready to be delivered. The horses would be fetched from their stable and hitched up. Sid would climb up onto the cart and with his cap with the peak at the side would start his round.. When all the coal was delivered Sid would get onto the cart and fall asleep (or at least appear to). The horses would make their own way back to the railway siding and stop. It didn't matter where the round ended, the horses knew their way back. My memory tells me that the horses seemed to ignore the rest of the traffic. Goodness only knows what they would make of it today. Back home they were taken back to the stable, fed and watered.Of course the stable is no longer there but it can be positioned exactly. Walk along the south kerb of Sompting Road and just before it starts to bend slightly to the right there is a little dip in the kerb line, this was to allow the horses to walk straight through the stable door.
My fingers are getting tired, must sign off, if this is of interest, I will see what else I can recall.
Editors note... I will be writing to George to say 'Yes please', for more marvelous memories