Memories of WWII

Photo:Photo of ARPs organising air raid precautions at Ovingdean

Photo of ARPs organising air raid precautions at Ovingdean

Photo from the Harwood family album

Childhood Memories of Ovingdean Village

An interview with Michael Harwood

When I was a boy the prisoners of war were encamped at the end of Longhill Road, next to the gun pit - now it looks just like a mound but in the war there was a gun there. As kids we used to play down there. One day I was given a toy wooden plane by one of the prisoners of war - when I got home my mother wanted to know where I'd got it from. When I told her there was such a rumpus because I wasn't supposed to go near the prisoners of war.

I remember that at the end of Longhill Road there was a house that had a huge crack in the side of it because a bomb had gone off - we used to wonder how it was still standing! The bomb had demolished the house on the corner where subsequently Colonel Browning built a very big house. As children we used to roam the debris and thought it great fun.

When the bombs were dropping we were in a steel Anderson Shelter. The whole family would be in there every night for fear of a bomb coming down and demolishing the house. The incendiary bombs were the biggest threat - they would set the felt in the roof alight and up would go the house. I remember the German aircraft coming over and going back - of course they used to drop their bombs on the way home if they hadn't found a target - they would want to offload them so they could fly home in a lighter plane.

Father looked after the ARP- he was teaching at the time and too old to go to war. The ARP post was just before the store just down on the right. I remember him going off in the evenings, doing his duty and returning. In those days Longhill Road was a chalk track and down Beacon Hill was a flint track - it certainly was a bit 'rustic' up here. I remember that the village shop was run by Mr. and Mrs. Miles - in those days it was a wooden hut - you climbed up steps to it and it always smelt of wood. It was a comforting sort of place - it sold Mars Bars and other lovely things. I remember that I was six years of age before I had my first banana.

Michael Harwood was interviewed by Jennifer Drury
Added to the site on 06-05-05 
This page was added on 22/03/2006.

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