My 30 Years In Rye
By Julie Brett (nee’ Ditcher)
Hello to everyone in beautiful Rye. I finally got round to writing
another part of my story. With each edition that I receive of Rye’s
Own it brings more memories.
In the January edition an article on Fireman Bob Rogers reminded
me of my father Charles, or Sonny as he was known locally, and of
his long association with the Fire Service.
As I wrote in the November edition my Dad was an Auxiliary Fireman
in Rye. Quite when he joined I couldn’t tell you but I do have a small
cup he won in 1938 in a “Five Men Drill” competition which they won
in a time of 34.3/5 sec. It was mentioned that Bob Rogers was in a
Five Man Team, I wondered if it was the same competition and if so,
what was their time?
Fred Bourne (who was my Godfather) was photographed with my father
when the new Fire Station was opened, Fred and Dad being the only
two survivors from the AFS. The only photograph that I know of in
which they were again together shows them on an open engine in the
Fishmarket with another Bourne which I believe was Harry or Alec?
Up until the Fire Station was moved my fathers name was still printed
on the wall (right side of the main door) where his uniform hung ready
for the next call out.
For a few years the Rye Firemen entered a tableau on bonfire night,
on which I was asked to participate a couple of times. I expect that
some of the ex – firemen that are still around recall this.
I grew up and went to school with Bob’s brother David, and his grandmother
Birchall lived opposite us in Cyprus place, which if I remember correctly
was Carlisle Place. There were two of three different addresses in
that one street, looking down from Wish Street towards the old Corn
Stores, there was on the left Alma Place, Carlisle Place and Alma
Cottages, on the right it was all Cyprus Place.
Towards the end of the war and just after, my parents and my maternal
grandmother and I, (even though I was only between 4 and 6 years old)
earned extra money by sorting dried peas. One of the adults would
go to the Corn Stores and get a sack of peas and then every evening
whilst listening to a play or a variety show on the radio,
we would all sit around the kitchen table and sort the good peas from
the bad, that was the entertainment of the day.
It was such a surprise to see a letter from David Brown in the magazine,
he wanted to get in touch with me and had been trying for a few years.
As you can imagine letters are now frequent between us with many years
to catch up on. Another success for Rye’s Own, keep up the good work.
It seems that old Ryers no matter if it has been 30 years or more
since they last met, have a closeness that bonds them together despite
great distances between them. It is a sign of what Rye and Ryers are
Julie Brett nee Ditcher
From March 2002 Issue of “Rye’s Own”