Alan Drake

Born in Elm Grove Hospital

By Alan Drake

Brighton Municipal Hospital

I was born in 1940 at the Elm Grove hospital, which at that time was called the ‘Brighton Municipal Hospital’. I lived, with my mother in Clermont Terrace in the Preston area of Brighton; my father was serving overseas in the Royal Air Force. My mother and I were later evacuated to a place called Annan, Dumfrieshire in Scotland, although at that time I was too young to remember any details about it.  When we came back to Brighton, still during the war, we moved to one room at a house in Hampden Road, Brighton.

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Photo:Clermont Terrace

Clermont Terrace

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Morrison Shelter

Morrison Shelter

Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Morrison Shelter was very cramped indeed and rather like being in a cage.

Air raid sirens and doodlebugs

I can just about remember the air raid sirens and the sound of the doodlebugs. Bombs were still falling on Brighton and we spent many nights in the Morrison Shelter downstairs. This indoor shelter mainly consisted of a steel top, like a table top and wire mesh sides; one of which could be lifted open and acted as the door. Later on we moved to a very small flat in Upper Rock Gardens Kemp Town. In about 1947/48, not long after my father returned from the Forces and the war was over, we moved to one of the first newly built prefabs in Kipling Avenue, Woodingdean.

Do you remember

Did you ever live in Clermont Terrace? Maybe you live there now? Do you remember the doodlebugs? Maybe you had a Morrison Shelter? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.

This page was added on 19/04/2014.
Comments about this page

Hi Alan, I lived across the street from you at No.72 Kipling Avenue. My name then was Valerie Seamour and I had a sister Anne who is the same age as you. I recently found this website and, as I have been living in California for 34 years, it has brought back some wonderful memories. I noticed Frank Parsons had had some input at this site and later his son wrote that he had died. My mother Margot is still alive at 98 and living with Anne in Westdene. I have a daughter Fiona who is 47 and two grandchildren. I remember Woodingdean with great fondness and all the wonderful freedom we had. Will be following your blogs from now on. 

By Valerie Ingham (09/11/2014)

For Valerie Seamore. Hi Valerie. I remember yourself and Anne very well, if I remember rightly Anne was in the same class as me at Woodingdean Primary School and I believe she is in one of the class photos I posted on this site. It's so lovely to hear about you  and your Mum at 98!  I would love to email you.

Jennifer Drury, the editor, will I'm sure exchange email addresses,

if you were comfortable with that, if so perhaps you would let her know yours.

By Alan Drake (24/11/2014)

Hi Alan. Yes, Jennifer Drury can give you my e-mail! Mother said to say hello to you, she is very interested in this web site. Lots of wonderful memories for her. She and Gertie Lynam (Des Lynams mum) were the cooks at Woodingdean Primary School and I remember we had very good lunches then. Meat, veg and potatoes and some kind of pudding - its a wonder we didn't grow up really fat, but then we did a lot of walking and running around. I heard you live in Worthing as did we when Fiona was small, on the Arundel Road. Mum and Dad lived in Heene Road. We moved around a lot and ended up in California!

Look forward to hearing from you, Valerie Ingham (Seamour).

By Valerie Ingham (27/11/2014)

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