written on 6th June 2019 Brian’s 85th birthday
WOW! That’s made some memories come flooding back.
I was on Castle Cove Beach on the 6th of June 1944 – it was my 10th birthday and I was watching a lot of gliders being towed towards France. Portland Harbour was now clear of the Great Fleet that had completely filled it for weeks. No school for a few days.
Early in the war my parents had taken in two London evacuees to live with us – a rude awakening for all of us – a mix of streetwise city lads and we less worldly seaside folk. These two school boys had to share a bed and one of them was a bedwetter. Once the evacuees left us we had three lots of commando staying with us in pairs. They liked making things with my Meccano which kept me happy, so I enjoyed them being with us. We learned later that five of them were killed, but we never heard what happened to the sixth, his name was Spud Taylor.
My Dad never seemed to be home, as he started work early in the morning as a charge hand at Bincleaves, testing torpedoes, and he was also a sergeant in the Home Guard on duty or training. As most men were away in the Services he was often called upon to sort out practical problems for neighbours.My mother suffered with deafness so when the aircraft siren sounded I had to warn her and then we, with my baby sister would go out into the garden to the shelter which my father had dug. This shelter often and had water on top of the floor planks. We had to lay on a shelf and sometimes Mum had to feed baby Rosemary whilst we were there.Rationing was tough and I remember my mother’s joy when she managed to get a fresh egg (rather than a powdered egg) to feed Rosemary.
After Holy Trinity School was bombed I missed school for a number of months, then I was sent to a Miss Dyer‘s private school in Lansdowne Square where alas I was shortly asked to leave. I was then sent to Saint Philomena‘s, a Catholic school, but the nuns also decided I was not suited. Weymouth Grammar School then had to suffer my bad ways, but Cocker Linnet (Headmaster) and his cane soon put a stop to that nonsense, so I managed to stay the course.
At the end of the war we had super street parties, one celebrating VE Day (Europe) and another celebrating VJ Day (Japan). It was a fair time before the end of rationing.