4 March 2009
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Life Near a Fighter Baseby Oradour
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Archive List > Fire Duty
Archive List > United Kingdom > Sussex
Contributed by Oradour
People in story: Oradour
Location of story: Between Two Airfields
Article ID: A2215135
Contributed on: 19 January 2004
I was living in a little village called Barnham, which was (still is) situated between Tangmere & Ford Naval base,s both fighter stations, just behind our Bungalow was the disused Chichester ship canal, which housed many Gun implacements, Ant Aircraft Guns & Ack Ack Guns, also close by was Portsmouth Dockyard a major target for the German Fighters & Bombers, Nights were spent in an Anderson Shelter, while Dog Fights took place overhead, as bombers attacked both Ford Naval Base Tangmere & Portsmouth docks, Our little village school had the windows covered with brown sticky paper to stop any splinters, & the playground was
hollowed out with underground shelters, where we spent many an hour lit by the light of Hurricine lamps, while battles raged overhead, my three uncles were in the forces two in the army & one in the paratroop regiment, I remember when they came home for their 48 hrs leaves, the tearful goodbyes said on Barnham railway station as their train would come in & take them back to the battlefields of France, not knowing if we’d see them again.
I was too young & it was a very long time ago for me to remember it all in very much detail, but certain things stick in my mind, My Father for instance, who being out of the RaF with some sort of injury, joined the local AFS, with an old Bedford Lorry for an Engine Pulling a grey pump,one night (a night which changed him for as long as I can remember) a Hurricine fighter was shot down in a field very close to us & My father & the men on watch with him went to help, not much they could do with the limeted equipment they had, tried in vain to get the pilot out of his burning plane, my father & another man were doused with water as they tried to get @ the cockpit trying to smash the glass to get the still alive young man out, but all to no avail, & he pesished in the flames, my father was never the same again saying " we should have got him out" We became very frindly with the Solders manning the Guns behind our house in the old canal, & I also remember loads of socking wet Solders marching by as they had come from the nearby beach @ Climping following a lot of tanks where they were going to I do not know, but as they walked past they were handed what food could be spared @ that time, & given a wave as they went by in what seemed like an endless convoy. there is still bit that come to mind but it;s all situated around this small part of what was then my world, & how my formative years from 1939 till1945 were spent,