This remarkable photograph was one of the last ever taken by Rye Photographer Charles Henry Axell. It was late Spring 1918, the sheep had not yet
been sheared and the leaves were thick on the trees. The war still raged across the Channel. The Rye & Camber Tram Station was quiet and the shadows from the trees indicate it was still fairly early in the morning. There are tents pitched
together on Salts Farm, probably an army unit of some kind. The New Road is there, running straight as a dye to East Guildford but there are no houses.
Charles Axell was born in Rye in 1889, he married Bessie May Rhodes in 1910.
Elizabeth “Bessie” May Jane Rhodes was born in Rye on 8th March 1891, the daughter of Sarah Leonard and Edwin Thomas Rhodes, a Rye labourer. A son named Charles W. H. Axell was born in Rye in 1913, but he died before reaching his first birthday. Charles Henry Axell was a keen photographer and admired the work of another Rye Cameraman, Edwin Whiteman. Charles set himself up as a
professional photographer in premises at Bedford Place during the early War years.
Charles Henry Axell died of consumption in 1918 at the very young age of of 29 not long after taking the picture at the top of this page.
“Rye’s Own” November 2011
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