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15 October 2014
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Evacuation To Mansfield

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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BBC Southern Counties Radio
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08 July 2005

This story was submitted to the people’s war site Roger Whitehead from Littlehampton Learning Centre and has been added to the website on behalf of Mr A Goble with his permission and he fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.


On the 17th March 1941 100 Catholic schools children from the Littlehampton and Worthing area were evacuated to Mansfield — and at 4 ½ years of age I was the youngest boy from Littlehampton. We stood out like sore thumbs — our southern accents being very different to the Nottinghamshire locals! The food was completely different, and I got used to black pudding and rabbit stew.

Chapel was mandatory on Sundays, and I attended Rosemary Street School in Mansfield until returning to Littlehampton in 1944 in time for D-Day.

On D-Day I was swimming at Fisherman’s Quay with my brother Dennis, and friend Alan Spooner. After the swim we went to River Road by John Ede Butt and Sons warehouse, and played cricket. All of a sudden we heard a droning noise, and as the noise got louder and louder the ground started to shake. We looked up to the sky, and from east to west the sky was filled with planes — mainly Dakotas towing gliders, but escorted by Spitfires from Tangmere and Ford, and Mustangs. They flew over the town and headed out to sea, so we ran to a timber yard that overlooked the river Arun. By William Osborn’s shipyard we saw three Royal; Air Force Air Sea Rescue motor launches (121, 123, 125) casting off and heading out to the harbour mouth in a V formation. Upon reaching neared the sea they sounded their sirens, opened their engines, lifted their bows and sped out of the harbour at over 30 knots! Once clear of the harbour they fired their Browning machine guns to prepare for action. We did not know at the time, but we were witnessing the second British Airborne Invasion of Normandy.

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