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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Good Neighbours Good Friends

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Rose Florence Strong
Location of story: 
Brighton, Sussex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5333113
Contributed on: 
26 August 2005

“This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Diana Bransby from the Haywards Heath Library and has been added to the website on behalf of Rose Strong with her permission and she fully understands the site’s terms and conditions”

Living in Brighton during the war, with my two boys Brian and Raymond we lived at different times in Albion St. and Newhaven St. When we lived in Albion St. I remember a plane coming over low as low! Circling round, we didn’t know what they were aiming for; Raymond thought maybe they were trying to bomb the station or the telephone exchange on North Rd. He also thought they may have been trying to fire at the A.R.P. Wardens trying to put the fires out. Then he swooped down and we could see the swastika clearly as he machine-gunned along our street! I grabbed the boys and dashed indoors. Afterwards, you could see where the bullets hit the brickwork. What was amazing was not a window was broken; the bullets had all gone between the doors and windows!

My mum, Rose Bartlett, lived at 24, Albion Hill. One day when I heard a bomb fall nearby I went rushing up there, but a policeman blocked the way and wouldn’t let me pass until I said “but my mum lives up there”! When he realised I was telling the truth he let me by and I found her at her neighbour’s house because mum’s roof had been badly damaged. Mum had loved her house, the little bit of money she had she’d put into that house — it had an inside toilet, and a little covered area at the back where she could hang washing if the weather wasn’t good. Poor mum! She never really settled there after, she sold it and moved to Craven Vale. Unfortunately, the butcher wasn’t so lucky. He had a shop on the corner of Ashton St. and Cambridge St. and he must have been killed.

When we lived in Newhaven St. there was a time-bomb fell in Tamplin’s Brewery yard (not far from St. Peter’s church). Some people were evacuated to the Salvation Army, but I went with my two boys to a neighbour further up the hill and we slept on her kitchen floor. We were allowed to return the next day, from our house I could look over into the Brewery yard, but no-one told us whether or not it had been removed, or de-fused, or exploded. We never heard anything more!

The Canadian Army were billeted in Stanmer Park and it was full of tanks. One night, there must have been an air-raid warning or something that made them move, because all we could hear all night long (even though we were in an Anderson Shelter which was in our basement) was the rumble of the tanks as they went along Lewes Rd. from Stanmer Park.

The Air Raid Warden was Mr Grinyer, I’d known him since I was a child, when I went to the ‘Band of Hope’ on Wednesday nights, and he was the greengrocer. He would come round every time after a raid and knock on our doors calling us by name, “you all right Mrs Strong”? “You all right Mrs Barnes?” or Mrs Galloway, Lilley, Taylor, and so on. We were all neighbours who lived together, helped each other. If you needed anything, someone would always help and that’s how we got by.
Me and the boys were asleep in the shelter when I heard my mum at the door calling “it’s all over! It’s all over” We’d come through, we were all safe.

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