Mr. Gerald Eden Bellhouse, known to his many friends in Rye as Gerry, was born in the Derbyshire village of Chappel-en-le-Frith 57 years ago.
Among his first memories he recalls watching Zeppelins going over Darlington to bomb Scarborough.
He attended boarding school at Bakewell until he moved to Rye in 1926 with his family. on their journey to Rye the Bellhouse family were delayed by the National Strike and were forced to stay several days in Buxton. Gerry completed his last two years of education at Rye Grammar School.
He became an apprentice electrician on leaving school, learning the trade at Webber & Hudgells of Tower Street. Gerry Bellhouse was a keen sportsman, he enjoyed Tennis and Golf. He was also a model making enthusiast and among his best efforts were several scale steam engines for model boats.
His next job was an exciting venture he ran motor boat trips up the river, from Starlock to Bodiam Castle. He recalls the river was much different in character in those days, then he transported up to thirty people at a time and the vessel made the journey with ease. Today he doubts if a boat of similar size could make the journey, for the- river on this stretch is narrower than it was. Mr. Bellhouse also enjoyed sailing in his Uncle’s yacht, the ‘Mescha’. These were happy times for Gerry.
Mr. Bellhouse had a further change of job in 1934, he went to work for his Uncle, Mr. George Herbert Bellhouse at the Montbretton Garage as an electrical mechanic.
Gerald was 27 when war came, he joined the Army, and with his characteristic outlook on life, made many friends and enjoyed the life as much as it was possible under the prevailing conditions.
The actual ‘Horsa’ Glider in which Gerry Bellhouse crossed the Rhine – It was photographed the day following the Invasion.
He was in the 6th Airborne Division and took part in the D Day landings at Normandy. Later he participated in the ‘Battle of the Bulge’ in the Ardennes, when Hitler’ s last gamble seemed to be paying dividends. The German push was eliminated and the allies went back on the offensive. Gerry crossed the Rhine with the 6th Airborne in a Horsa Gilder and fought through Germany and up to Wismar on the Baltic where they met up with the Russians. He was in Germany when the European war ended.
He came back to England but was immediately posted to Norway. Gerry enjoyed this part of his Army service and became very fond of the Scandinavian countryside.
On demob day he came back to Rye and began working with Mr. Green on furniture repairs and renovation business at the ‘Glue pot’ in Ferry Road. Mr. Bellhouse was married in 1957 to a Udimore girl, Miss Joyce Corke. Gerald’s interests now are Local Government, the Ratepayers Association of which he is a founder member, and Church affairs. He also takes a keen interest in Grandfather clocks.
Mr. Bellhouse commented that during his life he has seen many changes in the buildings in Rye especially Huckstep passage. He is particularly interested in the future of Rye and Rye people.
“Rye’s Own” March 1969
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