Saturday, 19 April 2014
37. George Forrest continues...danger of living under a thatched roof
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".