Wartime Rye – Childhood Memories


By Doreen Smith

As the media recently reminded us it is Seventy years since the Battle
of Britain and Sixty-Five years since V E Day. I was only two when
war broke out so all through that time I was too young to understand
what it was all about.

In 1940, when the danger of invasion was imminent, my mother, my youngest
brother and I, together with some others from Rye, were evacuated
to Taunton in Devon for six weeks. My brother was eleven and I was
three. We weren’t happy there, we didn’t have a very nice billet.
My brother went to school. I remember my mother reading me some stories
about the Bruin Boys.

We all missed my father and when he wrote it made us cry. On the day
that I knew we were going home I jumped up and down on my bed with
excitement. I fell off the bed and banged my head on the bedroom door,
no serious injury was sustained.

Home Guard Uniform
Home Guard Uniform

When I was five I started school at the Ferry Road Primary School.
We all had to take gas masks wherever we went, fortunately they were
never needed. When I was old enough to walk to school alone (six or
seven), I was always afraid that the siren would sound and I would
have to find a shelter to go to and I wouldn’t know what to do. Thankfully
that never happened. If the siren went while we were at school we
had to get under our desks. Occasionally we had to go to the big brick
shelter in the playground. There was one shelter in the Primary playground
and another in the Senior.

There were four serious bombing raids on Rye during the time I was
at school. One raid happened when I was at school. My mother became
very panicky and wanted to go straight to the school in case it had
been hit! My middle brother was at home. He pacified her and told
her that the school was all right, although I don’t think he actually
knew! It hadn’t been struck and all the children were safe.

At home when the siren went we used to crowd into the cupboard under
the stairs. One night it must have been going more than usual, none
of us could sleep, so we went into the back garden. One or two neighbours
were also in their gardens. One family was drinking tea and they called
to us.

I can remember my two youngest brothers standing at the window of
our back bedroom, which was my bedroom, waiting to see if any Doodlebugs
were coming. I liked them doing that when I was in bed. A few Doodlebugs
did come over on various nights.

Even wartime had its moments of humour. One evening, one of Rye’s
leading businessmen was walking in the High Street in the dark (because
of the blackout), when he bumped into something. Thinking it was a
person he said “I beg your pardon”. Later it emerged it was a pile
of sandbags!

Rye Home Guard
Rye Home Guard

One of our friends who lived in Bedford was an ARP Warden. One night
he was called out in a rush and mistakenly put his wife’s knickers
on instead of his underpants! They both had a good sense of humour.

Of course, the War was a very tragic and sad affair. My family had
its share of sadness when, in 1944, my eldest brother was killed on
active service in Italy. This was a big blow, although we knew it
might happen. The rest of us survived the War and lived to tell about

The Loss of Sailing Fishing Smack “Pert”

The Loss of Sailing Fishing Smack “Pert”

When you hear of the loss of any ship you immediately think of a disaster, but, of course, there are more ships that run a normal sort of time and wear out and rust or rot whilst laid up.

“The fishing smack Pert” was laid up and left on the pulsing opposite where I was born and brought up. Continue reading The Loss of Sailing Fishing Smack “Pert”

80 Year Celebration at Jempsons

Jempsons Superstore at Peasmarsh celebrated 80 years of service to the community in 2010.

Lindy Hoppers ready for 1920's dance routines
Lindy Hoppers ready for 1920’s dance routines
It was a hive of activity in Jempsons Car Park
It was a hive of activity in Jempsons Car Park

26th June - 426th June - 326th June - 2July 3rd - 1







Many events and attractions were staged at the Peasmarsh store over the last week in June and the first week in July. Hundreds of regular shoppers turned up to join in with the festivities.

July 3rd - 3

July 3rd - 2

Stephen and Andrew Jempson draw the lucky winner of a new car
Stephen and Andrew Jempson draw the lucky winner of a new car
 Ms. Mills & her new car
Ms. Mills & her new car
Mrs Mills - Winner of the Jempsons Car Draw July 2010
Mrs Mills – Winner of the Jempsons Car Draw July 2010

Rye Secondary School Soccer Team 1954

Rye Secondary Modern. 4     Hastings Modern 1

To those of us that remember the great victory, beating the top Hastings soccer school in that exiting final, it seems only yesterday. In fact it was fifty-six years ago when the youth of Rye made off with the magnificent Hastings Shield. Continue reading Rye Secondary School Soccer Team 1954

Rye Wheelers “50” Championship 2010

Steve & Bronwen are the Champions

Rye Wheelers 50 Mile Time Trial Championships

On an almost perfect morning the 2010 Rye & District Wheelers 50 Mile Championship (incorporated in the VTTA “50”) was keenly fought out on a Romney Marsh course.

17 riders, thirteen men and four ladies, took the starter’s signal and rode off at minute intervals. They were cheered on by other club members and cyclists from other clubs scattered around the course. Continue reading Rye Wheelers “50” Championship 2010

Jack of Hearts

Back to Back wins for Rye Student

Barlow wins legion of new fans after storming to twin victories in Wales

Just a week after scoring his first British Super 1 championship podium with new team Strawberry Racing, Pett’s Jack Barlow stunned his rivals with back-to-back victories in the 5th and 6th rounds of the Formula Kart Stars series at Glan Y Gors last weekend (3/4 July). Continue reading Jack of Hearts