Chandler's Ford History

"If my memory serves me correctly ......." Welcome to our Chandler's Ford Local History Blog. Our aim is to collect and record memories of Chandler's Ford, in Hampshire, and make them available to all. We shall also share old reports, maps and photographs where there is no copyright problem. Do help us by adding your photos and memories. Even if you can't quite remember what happened, write your version of events and encourage others to add theirs. Look forward to hearing from you. Chris

Friday, May 19, 2006

WW2 in Chandler's Ford

WW2 Incidents in Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford

Sources of information: Hampshire Incident Book; Diaries of Norman Norris (copies of which are held in the County Records Office in Winchester)

16/5/40 Several rounds of anti-aircraft fire at enemy plane 1.40 -2am.

13/8/40 Dormer crashed off Baddesley Road, CFord, just outside Eastleigh District.

13/8/40 Air raid over Southampton and Eastleigh. 22 planes brought down in area of raid. German pilot parachuted into Cranbury Park. Duration of raid 3.50-5.15pm.

15/8/40 (Time of original report 20.02h.) British plane crashed 7 air force bodies discovered. 1 woman. 1 house completely demolished and 2 damaged.

21.45 Nine bodies recovered. Mr & Mrs Craig still to be recovered.

06.48 All bodies recovered.

A Hudson aeroplane returning to base with pilots who had ferried planes to Eastleigh airport, struck a barrage balloon cable on take-off – the aircraft left the runway as the air raid alarm sounded – and crashed into a pair of council owned houses in Nutbeem Road, killing the occupants, Mr and Mrs Tom Craig, friends of ours along with the plane’s nine occupants.

22/8/40 Police report bomb fell at airport xd.xc

11/9/40 HE Bombs on Cunliffe Owen’s new factory at Soton Aerodrome. HMS Raven requested ambulance from Eastleigh to take casualties to hospital. (Incident took place in Soton Control.)

15 Sept 1940 Heavy ack-ack fire after tea. I saw nine enemy planes.

24/9/40 Raid by German planes on Vickers Supermarine works at Woolston. From steps of oil filled cable section of Messers Pirelli’s I counted 12 raiders. Many killed in target area.

1/10/40 UXBs

8/10/40
Pirelli cable works. 3 HE dropped on canteen. Canteen demolished. Effect on production negligible. 2 slight casualties. (Mutual support requested.)

3 Ju 88 flew low over town bombing and machine gunning. Bomb on shed of railway caused 4 casualties and 4 killed 2 slightly wounded.

Bomb on co-operative store caused fires – extinguished.

8UXB in thickly populated area. 15 suspected UXB of which 7 known at airport.

Total casualties 2 male killed 2 male and 1 female (WRNS) seriously and 12 male and 2 female slightly wounded.

8/10/40 Bombs dropped Market and High Street Market street 133, 135, 166, 180 &194 & Green’s and 60 & Stubbington, High Street and 8 Grantham Road.
UXB Desborough Road.

This evening I saw two enemy planes, flying low and roughly following Boyatt Lane from Otterbourne to Eastleigh. The markings on the plane were clearly seen, as also were the red flashes from their machine guns. In the gathering dusk the planes swept over the town dropping many small bombs on Pirelli’s, the Co-op, Market Street and the Running sheds. However, almost all failed to explode. One of these crashed onto the canteen at Pirelli’s. Fortunately the Pirelli’s Rescue Squad were in another part of the canteen on an exercise and so escaped injury.

9/10/40 Further report of two RAF personnel killed and 4 injured. 3UXB railway running shed. 19 at airport 1UXB Market Street.
Total UXB confirmed as 30 I Eastleigh
7 in Bov Rem
3 at railway
19 at airport. 1 at 174 Market Street (1 couldn’t be treated.)

30/10/40 Today, in driving rain and low cloud, from 12.40 – 2.45pm German Messershmit fighters operated in small numbers. Harry, May and I, cycling to work along the Twyford Road, were suddenly surprised to see one of these planes come out of the clouds and roar low over us.

1/11/40 CFord 1 HE in Southern portion of CFord. No damage or casualties.

19/11/40 Eastleigh 1UX mine A1 within 80y of S Ry in thickly populated area.

1 parachute mine (suspected magnetic) in thickly populated area Twyford Road. People evacuated. Returned by next evening.

19/11/40 Houses evacuated opposite Bazeley’s Nurseries in Twyford Road owing to suspected land mine having been dropped in nurseries. Other land mines were dropped around Eastleigh today. Dropped by parachute the mines looked awe-inspiring. They reminded me of the large round pillar boxes one sees in the streets.

22/11/40 CFord 1 HE + ?3 suspected UXB (not found) at Hiltingbury Common.

23/11/40 20 bombs in Eastleigh (in 10V/E)
2 UXB at Sewage Farm Cottages + ? 4 others.
2 HE on RNA station. No damage or casualties.
1 Open Countryside
1 UXB on admiralty ground

24/11/40 Sewage Farm Eastleigh 4 UXB None disposed of. In deep marshy water of Sewage farm.

24/11/40 CFord
1 bomb expl Shaftesbury Ave
1 in Hursley Road No casualties.
Unknown no of UXB on Eastleigh Airport. Eastleigh 1 FAP, 1 Amb, 1 large trailer pump unit to Soton.

30/11/40 (Soton via CFord) Heavy attack from enemy developing. Rescue from Winchester C & RA, Basingstoke, New Forest, Aldershot + lorries. Eastleigh: 2 rescue parties, 4 FAP, 4AMP 1X2ton lorry 3X4ton lorries. 1 large motor pump. (Unable to obtain further lorries.)

1/12/40 Failure of electricity supply Compton, Twyford and Shawford affected, which have no sirens.

1/12/40 Soton (Control via CFord

Raid continued. Laster 4 ½ hours. No reports received about number of homeless – may be very high. Request reception centres be opened and ready to receive up to 2000. County PAO requested to visit Soton Centre with full particulars before 1002.

Mr Carter Cont Wkr and Police informed 23/40. Not very serious view taken by Mr Carter who has matters in hand.

23.03 Fire situation very serious and personnel exhausted.

Fires at Thornycrofts and Supermarine – later hit by HE. Many other HC, Suggest 6RP and 2FAP 6 ambulance be dispatched to ………… No 3 as a precaution.

Parties dispatched from Aldershot and Surrey via ? Farnham

21.45 1 large fire pump 2 RP 4 amb

4FAP have returned from Soton 2 relief amb and 1 relief FAP have been dispatched.

2/12/1940 $ HE in open country, Eastleigh

9/1/41 Bomb dropped. Late evening
To hosp – Miss Bamforth and Mrs Burgh 54 Chamberlayne Road and Mr Johnson 55 Chamberlayne Road
Treated at First Aid post Mrs Bullard (54 Chamberlayne and Mrs Snooker 57 Cranbury Road)
5 houses badly damaged, 5 or 6 other slightly.

Later Mrs Hiscock of 55 reported missing.
Later still Mrs Hiscock aged 78 fatal casualty.


18/1/41 HE Bomb in Eastleigh area

20/1/41 1 UXshell at 184 Market Street

25/2/41 3HE at Chandlersford. Direct hit on house Thornbury. 2 killed, 2 injured and taken to Winchester Hospital. Damage to houses a-1 B-1 C(a) 3 C (b) 1 D 30

?? date 1/3/41 Bombs dropped this evening close to the A33 road destroyed the house of Mr George Smith, an Estate Agent, and killing his mother in law and young daughter.

2/3/41 8 bomb crater open ground east side of and parallel to A33 between Penarth and a point opposite RC church – (may have fallen some time earlier)

3/3/41 5HE in Kingsway 2 houses totally destroyed. Gas and water service pipes damaged.

Straddled main road 1 ¾ miles n of Eastleigh. No casualties.

3/3/41 Bombs fell on or close to allotments off Boyatt Lane.

5/3/41 British Lysander aeroplane crashed in Travis and Arnold timber yard. Timber fired. 2 aviators killed. 2 sappers injured by exploded petrol tank.

10/3/41 Incendiaries hit Passfield Avenue and a part of Chandler’s Ford. Heavy Damage in Southampton.

11/3/41 Incendiary bomb in open country Chandlers Ford

12/3/41 1 UXB 55y from railway. Line Closed. Mysterious yellow balls in ditch near Flexford Bridge 858418 1 ¼ m NW of CFord.
Report, “These yellow Borlz, after careful examination by OC23BDC, are diagnosed as a new type of yellow fungus.”

Eastleigh Aerodrome SE of Atlantic Park Hostel 2 m S of Eastleigh Rly station. Rendezvous – contact balloon crew close to site (100 y inside Soton Boundary)

13/3/41 Bombs and incendiaries fell on or close to allotments off Boyatt Lane. Walt, Harris and I kept busy assisting in extinguishing the fires. Slight damage to property in Pitmore Road and Maypole Villas.

15/3/41 1 HE on house “The Beeches” at Hook Road 1 ½ m NNW of CFord Railway Station and 1 ½ m SSE of Hursley. House damaged and road blocked by rubble. Electricity and telephone cables down.

7/4/41 Bombs fell about 10.40am in Chandler’s Ford.

8/4/41 UXB exploded in field.

21/6/41 German aerial activity. Land mines dropped over Southampton and Eastleigh area.

22/6/41 Blast of heavy bomb or land mine damaged properties in Locksley Road ¾ m SW of Town Hall. 1 casualty to Winchester hospital.

22/6/42 HE fell early am. Some casualties. Request rendezvous 3 from Pirellis. Several IB causing fire in works. Rolling drills burned out. Tel cable factory badly damaged by fire. “ UXB one in power cable factory dia 36” fins visible. Second in road outside turning shop hole 24 – 30”. No casualties, Fires practically out.

ARP officer reported by speech line “Effect on production of rolling mill out of action for some time. Furnace damaged and fabric of building damaged by blast. Telephone cable shop out of action probably 2-3 months. Depts affected by UXB will operate normally from time of removal of UXB. 10 HE.

25/6/1941 Air-raid tonight and in the early hours of the 26th. Land mines dropped close to Green Grove.

27/6/41 2 PMs in military camp at south end of town ?casualties.

8/7/41 1 Heavy HE 915374 4 HE 914372

17/4/42 1 suspected AA shell in locomotive works of SR adjacent to boiler supplying steam to main works. No casualties.

18/4/42 Within ½ mile of town hall 4 HEs 7 houses demolished. One female killed and 2 females and 2 males slightly injured – one case of shock removed to Winchester hospital (male)

24/6/42 Toynbee Road School (885391) No 6 (c) Regional Reception Camp. Partly destroyed. Cleansing section totally destroyed.

26/10/42 UX shell 891387 (?in rear of High Street)

2/1/43 AA shell from WW1 found. Put in garden of 2 The Nook, St Catherine’s Road – air raid warden’s address. Was covered with sandbags.

9/2/43 Machine gunning N of Allbrook outside of Eastleigh Borough.

16/8/43 Lovely hot day. On duty this evening, Gun Commander, Bofors guns, Pirelli sports ground. While there saw German plane shot down.

17/9/43 Eastleigh 889379 26 Doncaster Road 1UX cannon shell 3 ¼” X ¾” I house slightly damaged roof, ceiling, staircase and floor covering.

19/9/43 Hiltingbury Road 865424
UXB found 1.55h 23/9/45 and taken to Eastleigh Police Station.

26/6/43 Near Eastleigh 2 HE in water meadows, Allington Manor Farm

14/5/44 Air raid tonight. A great amount of gun fire. I saw a plane shot down in the direction of Morestead.

16/5/44 Alert sounded. Planes overhead, probably on reconnaissance.

15/7/44 Night raid. Bombs fell in Fairoak area. Our dog’s mother ran frightened from the house at Fair Oak and gave birth to her pups at the side of the road. Bruce, our dog, being one of these puppies (NN).

Do let us know if you have any more information about any of these incidents.

6 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Chandler’s Ford during World War II by Peter (posted on 17 July 2006)

Although no children at King's Road School were killed or injured during the war by German air attacks, there was nevertheless a tragedy which affected the school. A small boy of about 7 years old called Brian Gilbert (who was in my class) was killed by an army lorry as he crossed Bournemouth Road near the main shopping area. It was very sad, and we all gave a few pennies for a small heart-shaped memorial plaque on his grave in the old Chandler's Ford cemetery in Pine Road, with the words "To Brian from his Friends at Kings Road School". The plaque was on his grave for many years afterwards. However, unlike today, there was no counselling for school children or teachers or parents grieving the death of a child, and we all just had to get on with our wartime lives.

In the months and weeks before D-Day on 6 June 1944, as well as being on a main route for the many military movements by road and by rail, parts of Chandler's Ford filled up with very large numbers of American and Canadian troops, vehicles and equipment, mainly in the Hiltingbury area (it was highly secret at the time that these events were part of the preparations for D-Day, but everybody guessed that something big was going to happen). The main military area had restricted entry, and residents and tradesmen had to have a pass to go in and out. One evening my mother was cycling back from visiting her parents when she saw King George VI and Winston Churchill talking with soldiers at the corner of Brownhill Road and Park Road, which were just outside the military restricted area at Hiltingbury . In many parts of Chandler’s Ford, military vehicles were parked all along the pavements which had been covered in gravel and clinker (ashes) to protect them from damage, or simply along the roadsides where there were no pavements; also, all junctions and crossroads had been re-inforced with concrete to facilitate turning by tanks and tracked armoured personnel carriers.

It may seem incredible now that the King and the Prime Minister could be seen by a member of the public in such circumstances, but throughout the war they were often out and about meeting members of the armed services, emergency services and the public, although unannounced beforehand for security reasons. In Chandler's Ford in particular it would have been essential not to draw attention to the enormous concentration of troops and military equipment in the area. There was usually publicity afterwards (although not for the visit to Chandler's Ford as it was just before D-Day), and these visits were a tremendous morale booster for those troubled times and much appreciated by everybody.

For local children, the arrival of the American and Canadian troops in Chandler’s Ford brought a bonanza - food from military kitchens, visits to cinema shows and other entertainment provided for the troops in tents and requisitioned large houses; and always army rations and chocolate of which the American troops seemed to have limitless quantities. My friend and I often went into the restricted military area after school to eat in a military canteen and then watch an early film or a show. I particularly remember a very good conjuror. We got in through a small gap in the barbed wire, but we were never challenged; the soldiers had more important things on their minds. Then, quite soon after D-Day, all the troops left for France, but now, almost as a last gesture of defiance, the Germans started to use their V1 and V2 rockets over much of southern England, although this menace soon ceased as the allied troops quickly overran and destroyed the missile launching sites in France, Belgium and Holland. However, before the launch sites were neutralised, several V1 doodlebugs landed in Chandler's Ford, including one which destroyed a house in Pine Road near its junction with Hiltingbury Road, killing two of the family living there, and badly damaging several nearby houses.

Some indications of the temporary military occupation remained for years afterwards, for example the large water tower built in Sherwood Road to supply the troops.There was also some military equipment left behind, such as petrol cans, tools, life jackets, torches, washroom facilities and kitchen utensils, but never guns or other weapons.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

PERSONAL MEMORIES OF VE AND VJ DAYS AND AFTER WORLD WAR II posted by Peter on 16 July 2006


On Tuesday 8 May 1945 (VE Day) the war in Europe ended officially, and there was much joy and celebration. Church bells rang out to end their enforced wartime silence; if rung during the war they would have signalled a German invasion! On 7 May I was in lessons at Kings Road School, when we heard the exciting news from our class teacher that the war was over, and that the next day would be a school holiday. In fact for everybody VE Day was a public holiday, and in the afternoon and evening there were street parties with bonfires and much merrymaking which went on well into the night, and some parties were still going strong the next day.

The war in the Far East against Japan came to an end 3 months later, during the school summer holidays. The exact day was VJ Day, 15 August 1945, after the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was another public holiday with more street parties. This time there was not quite the sense of utter relief and joy that VE Day had brought, as the war with Japan had been far away and had not threatened life in Chandler’s Ford as had war with Germany. I was only 10 and I was over-awed by the radio and newspaper reports that the new weapons used against Japan were more horrific and much more powerful than anything used previously in the 1939-1945 conflict. Fortunately, nuclear weapons have never been used since in war by any of the dozen or so countries which have to date developed their own, and such weapons have so far been a major deterrent against further global conflicts like the Second World War.

Gradually peacetime life in Chandler’s Ford returned to normal, although it would be many years before all wartime rationing of food, sweets, clothes and household goods finally ended (in 1954). At first there were shortages also of coal, gas and electricity, and the winter of 1947 was one of the longest and coldest of the 20th century, with very deep snow for several weeks. However, very quickly after VE day, the gas lights in the village streets were repaired and lit again at night for the first time since 1939. Local roads and pavements, which had been badly damaged by American and Canadian tanks and other military vehicles awaiting embarkation from the South Coast to take part in the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France in 1944, were now quickly restored to good condition. Gradually local servicemen began returning to their families and civilian life. Long-missed goodies such as bananas and ice cream reappeared, although in small quantities at first, and queues quickly formed when news spread of the arrival in the village of these treats. There were still very few cars on the roads as they were expensive to buy and maintain, and fuel was strictly rationed, but public transport by bus and train was reliable, frequent and widely used, both for local and long journeys. The local bus company desperately needed more vehicles to meet the high demand for bus travel, and this was met by using some ancient red London buses with outside, open stairs to reach the top deck.

Like other German (and Italian) prisoners-of-war in Britain, those prisoners who had been housed in two large, closely-guarded camps in Chandler’s Ford after their surrender, did not immediately return to their country after the war ended. They had to help local farmers with tending the livestock and crops, or do other work, such as in forestry and cleaning out rivers, which had been neglected during the war while British workmen had been away serving in the armed forces. It would be several years before most of the prisoners of war were sent back to Germany from Chandler’s Ford, but a few got married to local girls and settled here.

Chandler’s Ford was also home for the duration of the war for many evacuees from Southampton (about 5 miles away), whose homes had been destroyed by the intensive German aerial bombing of the port there in the early years of the war. There were also refugees from Poland and other Eastern European countries, who had fled to Britain either at the start of the war, or later in the war as the Soviet Red Army advanced through their countries towards Germany. All the evacuees and refugees lived in what were described at the time as temporary, pre-fabricated dwellings (but known locally as ‘the hutments’), in two areas of Chandler’s Ford. However, because of shortages of building materials, it would be many years before sufficient permanent housing was built to replace that destroyed by the German air force (the Luftwaffe), but eventually even the ‘hutments’ themselves were replaced by traditional houses.

8:40 PM  
Blogger peter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:10 PM  
Blogger peter said...

CHANDLER’S FORD STATION IN WORLD WAR 2

The railway station at Chandler's Ford, then part of the Southern Railway, was much used during the war because private transport was banned, except for official war business, and the trains were the only practical way of travelling to Romsey, Andover, Salisbury and beyond, or to Fareham and Portsmouth. However, there were bus services to Winchester, Southampton and Eastleigh and a daily coach service to London and Bournemouth, both of which could readily be reached also by trains calling at Eastleigh. There were, however, posters everywhere asking people “Is Your Journey Really Necessary”. Coal and other freight were also delivered to the station by a goods train several times a week, and which spent a leisurely couple of hours shunting, including picking up empty wagons.

A large number of railway men working at the locomotive works and carriage works in Eastleigh were regular users of the train about 7.05 am to Eastleigh and they returned from Eastleigh at about 5.15pm (earlier on Saturdays). I remember my grandfather, who worked in the carriage works, getting off the train from Eastleigh and then walking up Park Road to his home in Pine Road. He should have retired in 1939 when he reached 65, but skilled older men like him were much needed during the war to help keep the railways running.

The wartime train service was still basically that operated by Southern in the 1930s, but included a Great Western Railway train for Bristol and beyond called at Chandler’s Ford at about 8.30am. The last train to Chandler’s Ford from Eastleigh about 10.15pm was later than the last bus, which departed at 8.30 pm while the two cinemas shows did not finish before ten o’clock. I liked to go into Eastleigh by train. The return fare for a child under 14 was 3 old pence (1½p in decimal currency), and by bus it was 2 old pence. However, I preferred the train ride, as it went into Eastleigh Station where fast main line expresses to Southampton and London could be seen at close hand thundering through.

Freight and mail trains ran non-stop through Chandler’s Ford during the night, and the first passenger train to Romsey calling at about 6.15am also brought mail and newspapers. A local newsagent took the morning papers on an iron-wheeled station barrow to his shop. Similar barrows were also used by postmen from the Chandler’s Ford Post Office to carry bags of mail to and from the station, and local deliveries were made from the small sorting office behind the Post Office in Bournemouth Road by postmen walking or on bicycles. There was also a telegram delivery service from the Post Office by uniformed telegram boys, as few people had phones.

Around the time of D-Day in 1944 there was a seemingly endless procession of trains from the large military areas around Salisbury Plain and beyond taking allied troops to the embarkation zones, which we later learnt were along the south coast. Many troop trains stopped in Chandler’s Ford station because of rail congestion around the junction at Eastleigh, and the halted trains in Chandler's Ford carrying Americans were often besieged by children asking for gum and chocolate. Similarly, motor convoys of American troops led to cries of "Got any gum, chum?" The Americans usually threw out an assortment of goodies – chewing gum, chocolate and "K-rations" containing other delicious things, such as tins of cheese with ham, previously unknown to children being raised on wartime British rationing,.

During the war, Chandler’s Ford station had a Station Master, who lived with his family in the Station House just inside the Hursley Road entrance; the staff included also a ticket clerk, a signalman and some local men who maintained the railway lines in the Chandler’s Ford area. The facilities at the station did not include a refreshment room. However, there was a small single-storey sweet-shop/tea room (owned by Mr and Mrs Hoar) almost opposite the station entrance in Hursley Road and during working hours this was always busy serving railway workers and the coal delivery men who bagged up coal from railway wagons in the station yard. There were at least 4 coal delivery firms as coal was then the main source of heat in people's homes - there was virtually no, if any, gas, oil or electric central heating, although a few houses had coal-fired heating and hot water systems).

Another feature of train services through Chandler’s Ford of particular interest to ‘train spotters’ was the use from time to time of recently-repaired mainline Southern engines of all sizes, including large main line express engines, to haul the local trains between Eastleigh and Romsey and back in ‘running-in turns’ before returning to their normal duties. At other times, small engines, particularly tank engines, were used for the local services.

Not surprisingly as photography was prohibited during the war, I have never seen any photos of wartime Chandler’s Ford Station. However, the story of the station, from its opening by the London and South Western Railway in 1847 to its closure by British Railways in 1969 is told, with pictures and maps, in “Fareham to Salisbury via Eastleigh” by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith (Middleton Press, 1989), ISBN 0-906520-67-3. There are also two excellent pictures of the station taken in the 1960s from the Bournemouth Road overbridge on page 76 of “The Heyday of Eastleigh and its Locomotives” by Tony Molyneaux and Kevin Robertson (Ian Allan Publishing, 2005), ISBN 0-7110-3088 –X.

(see also http://www.chandlersfordonline.com/history/photos.htm for historic pictures of Chandler’s Ford, including the railway station).

4:04 PM  
Blogger peter said...

LIFE AT KINGS ROAD SCHOOL IN WW2


My first school was King's Road School- a local authority mixed school for children aged 5 to 11 years. I do not remember my first day at school in 1940, but I have some memories of walking to and from school with my mother (about 1 mile each way) in my early days there. She did not drive - and never learnt to - but in those days nobody went by car to school anyway, and even the teachers walked or came by bicycle or bus.

My first teacher was Miss Bourne in the Infant (Reception) Class, and subsequently my teachers were Mrs Adams (Year 2), Mrs Tanton (Year 3), Mrs Bean (Year 4) and Mrs Drover (Year 5). There was another teacher (Mr Lush), but I was never in his class. I don’t think I spent a whole school year in each of the lower classes, but finally spent two years in Mrs Drover’s class (then called “Standard IV”). The Headteacher (then called Headmistress) was Miss Beatrice Goulding, who had been at King's Road since soon after the school was built in 1908 to cope with the growing child population which the original small village school (my father’s old school) at the corner of Bournemouth Road/School Lane had been unable to meet. Miss Goulding had white hair and seemed very, very old. She came to school daily by bus from Winchester, and was affectionately known to her pupils as "Granny" Goulding. She would nevertheless punish children for major infringements of discipline, such as fighting in the playground, or after being sent to her by a teacher for disruptive behaviour in class. She would smack the palms of the child’s hands with a wooden ruler, or sometimes a small cane. It was more of a gentle admonishment than a punishment and was a welcome warming of the hands on cold days!

Later we moved home and I was able to walk to and from school on my own, as it was only a few hundred yards away. My mother no longer came with me or to meet me. In those days it was safe for children to be out alone. There was little traffic at that time, as few people had cars, and in any case private motoring was prohibited because of the war. Until nearly my last year at King's Road I came home at midday for lunch (or dinner as it was called then by most people) as we did not have school meals provided until late in the war - at first in the Ritchie Hall next to St Boniface Church in Hursley Road, a short walk from the school and to which we went in a long “crocodile” along King’s Road and up through Church Cut by old ‘Granny’ Bailey’s thatched cottage (long ago demolished in the name of progress!). Later a canteen was built at Kings Road School which was in use in my final school year there (although later it was demolished to make way for a new school assembly hall, the opening of which I attended at the invitation of the Headteacher in September 2002).

Life at King's Road school during the war was very much like that in other schools. In the early part of the war, we had to take our gas masks to school and we had regular practice at putting them on. School windows, like homes, had transparent anti-blast material glued to the glass to minimise damage from windows being blown in. Lessons were frequently held in the air raid shelters in the school grounds. We went into the large earth-covered shelters when the air raid siren warning sounded (nicknamed "Moaning Minnie"), and remained there until the all clear siren was given. The teachers tried to continue lessons, but I remember that we mainly sang songs such as "Old Macdonald Had a Farm" and “Ten Green Bottles”.

I remember little detail of actual school life in the early years at Kings Road, apart from one small incident in Year 2. We were about to start a music lesson with some singing, and as we got up to take our places, a boy bumped into another boy, who fell against a desk and broke his wrist. I mentioned this to one of the boys over 50 years later and he remembered too. Throughout my time at Kings Road pupils sat in pairs in rows of desks facing the teacher. There was considerable emphasis on the "3 Rs", particularly reading aloud, word spellings, and the mathematical "times tables" - which we had to learn by "parrot" chanting together from 1 times 1 up to 12 times 12! There were as yet no ball point pens, so for writing we used a wooden pen with a steel nib which we dipped into an inkwell set into the corner of each desk. The ink was made by mixing a blue-black powder with water, which was the job of an "ink monitor" - a pupil chosen at random by the teacher when the need for making a fresh supply of ink or refilling inkwells arose.

The usual childhood illnesses went the rounds in those years - at the time there was only immunisation against diphtheria (which my mother never took me for, nor for any other vaccination or immunisation) - so while at Kings Road I had mumps, measles and chicken pox, but fortunately never diphtheria or scarlet fever (which were treated by a stay in the local isolation hospital, in open country off Oakmount Road, as they were very infectious). Polio (then called “infantile paralysis”) was not widespread until several years after the war when there was a major epidemic, but fortunately it did not touch me or any of my close friends, although the son of a local businessman was disabled by polio. I had, however, wanted to catch chicken pox - to avoid having to take the lead part as the Angel Gabriel in the Kings Road nativity play one Christmas - in 1942 I think; it was all around me, and although I felt unwell I did not fully develop the illness until after the end of that term and in time for Christmas!

In the later part of the war, big changes in secondary education were planned for implementation when the war ended. The 11+ scholarship examination for grammar schools was introduced in 1945 and during the spring that year, nearly at the end of the war in Europe, I went with fellow classmates to the area examinations held in Northend School, Eastleigh in Leigh Road. The exam was in two parts ("an intelligence test" and the "3 Rs"). You had to pass the first part to be able to take the second, which was several weeks later. I was successful in both parts, but remember mainly that after each part we did not have to go back to school, so I went "train-spotting" with my best friend onto Campbell Road railway bridge near Eastleigh Station and adjacent to the loco sheds and works. I think at Kings Road 9 children were successful in the 11+ exams in 1945; 3 girls and 6 boys including my best friend and myself, out of a class of over 40 children.

I left at the end of summer term shortly before the end of World War2, so my whole time at Kings Road had been during wartime.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MEMORIES OF THE EARLY PART OF WORLD WAR II

Until the summer of 1940, Chandler's Ford seemed little affected by the war, except for the call up of local men for military service or the Home Guard or the compulsory requirement for some men to serve as Air Raid Precaution (ARP) wardens, and the introduction of a wide range of wartime regulations.

My father had to do serve several evenings a week as an ARP warden, working from the local HQ in an underground shelter in Merdon Avenue, between its junctions with Tyrrel Road and Park Road. He was given a dark blue uniform and a white protective metal helmet with ARP painted in black on it. One of his duties was to go around checking that people had drawn their curtains and blackout material so that no chinks of light were showing from their houses to attract enemy planes!

Soon, women without young children also had to join the forces or do other war work. In Chandler’s Ford this could be making parts for aircraft and military equipment either at the large agricultural machinery works (Hendy’s) in Bournemouth Road or at Vickers Aircraft in the big country house and grounds at Hursley Park several miles away. A large fleet of buses, both from the Hants and Dorset Company and Southampton Corporation Transport, ferried workers in the mornings and evenings between the Southampton district and Vickers Aircraft via Chandler’s Ford.

Some ladies worked on the farms and smallholdings as Land Girls (The Women’s Land Army), whose duties included coming round to collect food scraps for feeding to pigs. Families had to put left-over food and vegetables peelings into special dustbins placed in the streets. A number of ladies also worked at the large laundry in Park Road, but I don’t know how much of their work was directly in support of the country’s war effort.

During the war we learnt to recycle all kinds of materials, and not to waste anything - particularly food- large quantities of which had been brought across the Atlantic from America and Canada by convoys of merchant ships at great risk from attack and sinking by German submarines. Very early in the war, aluminium saucepans were collected to help make aeroplanes, and garden railings were taken away for scrap iron
which could be used to build armaments and military vehicles.

Perhaps I spent too much time playing in Monks Brook that very warm summer, but early in August 1940 I developed a large swelling in my neck and became very ill. My worried parents took me first to our GP, but not being satisfied with his diagnosis and lack of urgency, they took me straight away to another doctor in Chandler’s Ford. He told my father to take me immediately to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, where I had an emergency operation on my neck to relieve the swelling. I am not certain what the problem actually was, but I think it was something to do with some glands in my neck becoming infected My parents blamed the stream for all this trouble and it was some time before I was allowed to play in or near it again!

There was no National Health Service (NHS) medical treatment in those days, but my father paid a few shillings a week (a shilling was 5 pence in decimal currency) into a health insurance scheme which covered medical and hospital fees during illness. These health insurance arrangements lasted until the NHS began in August 1948 with its free medical care and treatment.

My stay in hospital for several weeks that summer, including time to recover, proved exciting. The aerial Battle of Britain had begun, and from my hospital bed looking out over the downs to the south of Winchester I could see during the long sunny daylight hours the vapour trails from aerial dogfights between Spitfires and Hurricanes and German fighters and bombers, and smoke from fatally-damaged planes crashing to the ground. Everywhere could be seen puffs of smoke in the sky from bursting shells fired by British anti-aircraft guns on the ground. Once home again from hospital, there were more planes to be seen battling overhead, and some planes crashed into surrounding fields, fortunately away from houses. I remember going to see the remains of a German plane in a field alongside Baddesley Road, and people took small pieces for souvenirs.

After September 1940, following the success of the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, which was a major factor in the Germans’ decision to halt their planned invasion of Britain, the Germans turned mainly to night-time bombing of industrial and military targets in large cities and towns, although there was also terror bombing of smaller cities and towns. Fewer German planes were seen during the day but occasionally a fighter would roar overhead defiantly, firing its guns at nothing in particular, and fortunately not usually hitting anybody or anything. After night time German raids there were often large pieces of jagged metal (shrapnel) on the ground from British shells fired by anti-aircraft guns.

By that time Eastleigh Borough Council, like other local authorities, had provided brick-built reinforced shelters and underground shelters near houses for public use in the event of air raids, as they were stronger than houses for resisting bomb blast, although they would not survive a direct hit. Some people had half-buried shelters in their gardens. These shelters were called Anderson shelters, and there were also Morrison shelters, which were about 4 feet (120cm) high and constructed of steel plates bolted together and a steel frame, and which people built in their houses. Morrison shelters could protect people from a house collapse caused by nearby bomb explosions but, like Anderson and public shelters, could not withstand a direct hit. We had a Morrison shelter in our house, and I would sometimes sleep in the shelter at night if there were enemy bombing attacks. There was also a public brick shelter nearby.

During the autumn of 1940, Southampton was the target for a number of heavy bombing attacks on British towns and cities, particularly those playing an important part in the war, such as factories producing weapons and other military supplies for the British armed forces, and docks where raw materials and goods from overseas were unloaded from ships. Very heavy bombing was inflicted on Southampton during the week-end of 30 November and 1 December 1940, when the docks were the main target. During those nights I was awake because of the noise from the bombing and I can remember seeing the orange red glow in the sky as the centre of Southampton and the docks burned furiously from the German raids.

Residents of Chandler's Ford responded to the plight of people bombed out of their Southampton houses by taking them into their own homes temporarily. For several weeks after the blitz, we had a family of three from Shirley staying with us. They were all active Salvation Army members and were very busy in Southampton during the day helping to deal with the plight of the many homeless people. At about that time also, whole schools from the Portsmouth and Gosport naval areas were evacuated further inland, away from the Hampshire coast.

One school, Gosport County High, was evacuated and housed in Northend Secondary School, Leigh Road, sharing the building with the local senior schoolchildren from Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford. A boy about 5 years older than me came to live with us during the week, returning home by train each weekend to Gosport, where his father was a dockyard worker. He liked the countryside and we often went out together through the fields and woods during the year or so he lived with us before the school returned permanently to Gosport. Mother and I visited his home several times by train, and our families stayed in touch for many years afterwards.

I returned to hospital in Winchester for several days a year or so later for the removal of my tonsils (an operation which was popular with the medical profession in those days), but by then the aerial war had changed mainly to artillery defence against German night-bombing raids, and there were no more aerial dogfights to be seen from my hospital bed.

2:48 PM  

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