- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Reginald E Wesbrook
- Location of story:
- Hopton on Sea and Bognor.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 14 May 2005
My Grandad was born on the 17th January 1929.
When he was 7 years old he fell off his bike and hurt his leg, which left him disabled. He had to stay in hospital for 2 years and then had to go to a special school for children with disabilities.
War broke out in September 1939 when my Grandad was 10 years old, he was evacuated to Golden Sands Holiday Camp, Hopton on Sea. The army took over this camp and so he was moved to another campsite in Bognor.
He was away from his family for about 2 years and was very homesick.
All the children from seperate schools had to stay in chalets but they were in short supply so my Grandad and his friend Tommy had to stay in the last chalet in the block. The chalet was located at the edge of the site next to a field where the army had positioned search lights. One night, German aircrafts flying over the camp were picked up by the search lights. They dropped their bombs on to the area where the searchlights were in order to try and put them out, but some went astray and hit the holiday camp. My Grandad sheltered under his bed and shouted to Tommy to get under his bed but his best friend Tommy was too tired and wouldn't move. When the raid was over my Grandad asked Tommy if he was alright but Tommy said "No! - Go and get Sir". My grandad went to the door and moved it aside as it had been blown off its hinges and went to get his teacher. His teacher came immediately to look after Tommy and Grandad was sent to a nearby air raid shelter for the rest of the night.
In the morning the children had to return to the chalets. On the way to my Grandads'he passed a big crater from where one of the bombs had droped. When he got to the chalet the celing had collapsed and Tommy's bed was covered in blood. He didn't survive. When Grandad looked above his own bed, where his suitcase was kept, it was full of holes from shrapnel. His suit case saved his life.
Everybody who knew about Tommy was told not to say a word about what had happened in order not to upset anyone. Two teachers also died in the attack. The children were then sent by coach to different a camp in Bognor but not near an army base or spot lights this time.
My Grandad also had a girlfriend called Georgina Partridge who had a bad heart. When they left the camp she wrote him a letter, she sent this to his home address and he got it when he returned home for Christmas. He wouldn't show anyone but kept it in his shirt pocket. His Mum later washed the shirt not knowing the letter was there and he lost her name and address. He also told my Great Grandmother, about the bombing incident and she then refused to let him return to the camp; he lost all contact with Georgina.
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