- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Brian Stallard
- Location of story:
- Rowlands Castle, Hampshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 August 2004
I was 8 years old when I was moved out of my home in Holland Road, Southsea to Redhill in Rowlands Castle. This was to avoid the German bombs falling on Portsmouth.
As I was at an impressionable age the build-up to D-Day was very exciting as the village had British and Canadian troops milling around.
I can recall the build-up to the invasion and how I became the first casualty. My uncle Bill had a dairy at Links Lane near the The Green and I used to love playing all over the area. The soldiers, British and Canadian were everywhere, in the woods, in tents on The Green and in Standsted Park.
I remember my uncle complaining about the Candadians, whom he described as 'great big fellas', because they used to come to the dairy and drink all his milk.
There were also some boys evacuated there from Battersea who I met again in 2002 at the Village Fair. As they all had name badges on it was easy to find them and some remembered me because of my auburn hair.
I found out that some worked at the dairy and on the local farms. My Mum worked there too. I had a little cart which I used to push around and I would go in and out of the soldiers' camp with my little mate and pick up .303 bullets and put them in my truck.
One day mum found them and she gave me a good telling off. She marched me down the hill and I can remember her throwing some of them over the high hedges. Anyway, the soldiers got their bullets back.
My next encounter with the Army was when I climbed over the wall at Stansted Park near the railway bridge and I fell down on the other side. I cut my arm on some sharp flints and cried. The soldiers picked me up and took me to a first aid post. I was bandaged up and still have the scar now, making me the first casualty before they suddenly moved out.
As the years went by I was at work having a cup of tea with my fellow workmates and we got talking about Rowlands Castle and I metioned being an evacuee and one of the chaps sitting next to me said he was there as a young soldier at Stansted Park waiting to go to Normandy. He didn't go into detail he had seen enough. He is now in his 80s living not so far away from me in Portchester. Small World!!
Not so long ago I went back to Rowlands Castle and walked down Redhill and stood outside the house. Whilst there a small boy of about 8 came out on a four-wheel cart and then a girl of about 10 who could of been my sister as she was back then.
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