After The War Was Over


The end of World War Two resulted in a much changed Rye. The troops were slowly drifting home and the great spirit of unity that had encompassed all society in this country continued on. Great class barriers had been bridged and women, who had all played their part in the tumultuous conflict, had gained a near equality in the new order of things.

It was an exciting time, there was so much to look forward to. Factories that had been geared to war production slowly changed over to peacetime products. At first there was nothing to buy. Soldiers, sailors and airmen returned home with comparatively large sums of money because they were picking up pay that they had not been able to spend or claim while abroad fighting the Germans and Japanese. Some had been in prison camps for as long as five years and their back pay had been accruing over the period.

Old prewar radiograms changed hands for large sums and any new item that came on the market was quickly snapped up. It was a time for inventors and innovators – some made their fortunes.

Winchelsea Beach was cleared of barbed wire and tank traps and was soon open to the public again. Whole families would bike down to the Pett level road and picnic on the beach.

Rye Primary School in Ferry Road had been opened in 1938 and remained open for most of the War. In 1946 a new headmaster came to the school, Maurice Beevers was to play a great part in the rebuilding of the spirit and determination of a new generation of Ryers. With a team of dedicated teachers he created one of the finest primary schools in the whole of Britain.

Rye Primary Headmaster & Teachers 1947
Rye Primary Headmaster & Teachers 1947


We are fortunate indeed to have been loaned the photograph by Brenda Kennard of the staff at Rye Primary in February 1946, very shortly after Mr. Beevers took over at the school. Back row :-Pictured from left to right back row :- Mrs. Bodilly, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Candler, Miss Frere, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Stone. Front row :- Mrs. Lee, Miss Jordan, Miss Baker, Mr. Beevers (Headmaster), Miss Welfare and Brenda Heights (clerical assistant) who sent in the photo. Brenda Heights is now Brenda Kennard and lives with her husband John in Australia.

From “Rye’s Own” March 2004

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