Northfleet Disaster

History in a Church Yard near you.

By Eric Streeton.

287 Lost in Shipping Disaster at Dungeness Approximately 15 years ago I was given an old Guide Book for Rye and Winchelsea which was printed at the start of the last century. Continue reading Northfleet Disaster

Letters March 2008

One Medic Ambulances

Dear Editor

I enjoyed reading your Town Crier articles in the January Issue.

The new ‘one medic ambulances’ are a revelation. I am quite a large person and there is no way that one man or woman could manage to get me into an ambulance. Recent experience has shown me that this would be madness.

I have often made use of the benches in the High Street and rested my outstretched legs.

When I think of some of the things I did when I was younger! I would have been locked away if I did them today.

Would have been nice to have seen the Christmas Festival, but I was otherwise indisposed over Christmas.

I used to watch Rye United every week when I was younger and enjoyed watching my Uncle Bill (Blower) Pierce playing. Due to my mobility condition I am not able to watch them so much now. But I am still interested in how they are playing.

I look forward to receiving future issues of Rye’s Own, and know my granddaughter also enjoys receiving the copies.

Gorden Pierce

Ancient Trees

Dear Editor

I recently had information from the Woodland Trust regarding really ancient trees. The Trust wish to register any that people know of in their own areas – I understand a tree of 500 years old is considered ‘ancient’ and I believe the girth needs to be measured. I am enclosing the leaflet and their letter to me, and the website is on the leaflet which would tell more about it all. I don’t know of any particular tree myself except the one at Northiam which is said to be the one that Queen Elizabeth sat under to change her shoes – but I don’t really know if that’s absolutely true, it is printed in an old Rye Town Guide. While I’m mentioning the Woodland Trust did you know that you can have a tree planted in one of their woods which you can dedicate to a relative or friend in their name? I do this myself when someone I know dies. I do not send flowers, flowers are for the living, they die after the funeral, if you plant a tree it will go on living in their memory for – who knows – a hundred – five hundred years or more. For £10 you receive a certificate to send to the bereaved with whatever words you choose to put on it, and a sapling is planted a wood you choose from a list they will send. You can also have a tree (or group of trees) planted for a birth or birthday if you like. I’ve always loved trees myself and have been aware of them as living things. I think its a good thing to do, to plant a tree for whatever reason. I hope one day that someone will plant a tree for me to go on living for me when I no longer can.

Sylvia King

“Hastings Town”

Dear Editor

I just had to write and congratulate you and your staff on the new sister magazine to Rye’s Own, I waited with baited breath for the first issue of Hasting Town. It is so nice to have a magazine that covers the local aspects of the town. I also like the idea of people such as myself being able to write our views about local matters.

I was very interested to read about the invasion of Hastings by the Mods. I could not believe all the old faces. I wonder if anyone who has read the magazine has recognised themselves?

I look forward to the next issue and many more to come.

George Smith

Thanks for your letter George. We have had a message from the Policeman pictured arresting a gentleman in the article you mentioned. Editor.

Bob Huckstep

Dear Editor

It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Bob Huckstep. I’m sure that I speak for all his ex-pupils. In life you meet some people who you feel that it has been a privilege to have know. Bob Huckstep was one such person. He had a great respect from all that knew him. One example of this was a few years ago when I was talking to him in town. Another ex-pupil passed by and greeted him with,”Good morning Mr. Huckstep. This person, although 60 plus himself, had such great respect for the man he did not presume to call him Bob. That is respect, a commodity rarely known in this day and age.

As a teacher he was a man of great patience and wisdom, I never recall that he had to raise his voice to anyone.

Bob Huckstep will be sadly by all who have been fortunate enough to have known him.

Eric Streeton.

I can echo that sentiment. He was a War hero who rarely spoke about his days in the RAF as a navigator in a bomber squadron. I do know he flew on missions to help the Chechoslovacian resistance and that he did win th DFC (Distinquished Flying Cross). Editor.

From Rye’s Own Letter Page March 2008

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Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior

It Was Hitler’s Fault

By Eric Streeton.

Over the years in conversation with friends and acquaintances some had been surprised to learn that I was born in Rye. How come then Eric? Was the usual comment, I thought you were a Winchelsea man. Well it’s like this, it was Hitler’s fault. During the Second World War my Mother, Father, and Sister Pauline’s home was in Winchelsea, at No 4 Salutation Cottages in Castle Street. On the 13th of January 1943 a German plane passed over the town and dropped two bombs. One for some reason allegedly bounced and finished up in the Tan yard, but the other one exploded on the cross roads of Mill Road and Castle Street. The blast sent a cloud of debris along the rest of Castle Street, andSt Thomas Street shaking plaster from the School ceiling, and just reaching Friars Road. One youngster picked up a lump of shrapnel for a souvenir, and then received a reprimand for taking it to school with him. Another family living in North Street had their breakfast ruined when glass was blown through the kitchen window while porridge was still on the stove. The time was approximately 8.50 am. Castle Cottage, The Post Office. Five Chimneys, Boundary House and the Salutation Cottages were the worst affected. Number 4 Salutation Cottage, was no more. On the casualty list of that day was my Mother and my Sister Pauline. My Sister was just about six weeks past her second birthday; both were buried in the rubble. The reason they were able to find them with comparative ease was my Sisters screams could be heard for miles. According to one old lady, my mother was toasted Hero of the day for her selflessness when she was heard to say to their rescuers, don’t worry about me, please save my child. (This would have been typical of Mother) Mother was taken to Rye Hospital with her injuries but I have no documented evidence of this, but I do have a first hand account of Mother being in Hospital. A chance meeting and conversation one day with a local Rye woman bought another tale to light. As a five year old she was machine gunned by a German plane as she was crossing the school play ground in Ferry Road, on the 15th of January and taken to Rye Hospital. She told me how the older women had looked after her, and that it was my Mother who had taught her to play whist. I do know that Mother was re admitted to Hospital again in November, I still have in my possession her release papers from that spell in Hospital. Father was still over seas in the Army and powerless to help. Mother and Pauline moved into temporary accommodation above the Queens Head in the Landgate and from there down to number two Western Place over the Sluice with Grandma Streeton. Very soon they were on the move again, this time to Ferry Road, at number eight, in a flat over the Butchers Shop, and it was while living there that I was born.

Bomb Damage at Winchelsea
Bomb Damage at Winchelsea

Up until my Mothers death in 1964, it was not uncommon for her to pick shards of glass from off her body; it was quite common place to see Mother with her leg up on a chair in front of her self picking glass from it. Many times I watched my Father picking glass from her scalp.

Lily Streeton
Lily Streeton

I have always felt that with so much glass in her body for all this time it must have contributed to the Cancer that finally ended her life aged just fifty four.

Earlier on last year I was looking at a B. B. C. Web Site which contained people’s reminiscences of World War Two. Here I found another woman’s account of this day in Winchelsea. She was around the same age as my Sister at this time, and also lived in the Salutation Cottages. (She also had a very interesting story to tell.) So with the help of a local Winchelsea family who had contact with this woman I was able to arrange contact between her and my Sister. If it had not been for that bomb, on that day, it would have been quite probable that they would have become acquainted. So now after sixty four years they have at last become acquainted. (Check her story out on the B.B.C Web site it’s well worth a read. The story can be found by using the following link.

“Rye’s Own” February 2008

All material and pictures on the Rye’s Own Website are subject to strict Worldwide copyright.

Lessons from History

By Eric Streeton.

Rye has had to repel many attempts on its Freedom. One good instance is the many assaults by our then French foes on the Town over the centuries. Then we were able to strike back and bloody their noses for them. If something was taken from us against our will we would just take it back, just as the men of Winchelsea and Rye did when the French stole our Church Bells. Even Hitler could not bring the Town to its knees; it rose like a Phoenix from the ashes.
Continue reading Lessons from History



By Eric Streeton.

Why is it that we are always wiser with hindsight? When I was growing up in the Post War Years I never knew what a lucky youngster I was, but on reflection, my friends and I enjoyed an unparalleled freedom that no generation has enjoyed since. How would I define Freedom? Continue reading Freedom

Pen & Ink

Dear Editor,

The enclosed copy photograph is of the Tug-of War Team of the Cinque Ports volunteer Reserve. They were the champion team at the Brigade Camp in 1895 photographed with their individual Cups displayed on the table before them. Continue reading Pen & Ink

Pen & Ink


Dear Editor,

The enclosed copy photograph is of the Tug-of War Team of the Cinque Ports volunteer Reserve. They were the champion team at the Brigade Camp in 1895 photographed with their individual Cups displayed on the table before them. Continue reading Pen & Ink

My Shipwrecked Ancestor.


Introduced by Eric Streeton

Last month I wrote of my Smuggling Ancestors, this month it’s the turn of my Shipwrecked Ancestor. In my last month’s feature I mentioned George and Elisa Buttenshaw who were at that time living in Winchelsea. Continue reading My Shipwrecked Ancestor.

History in a Church Yard Near You

 By Eric Streeton

287 Lost in Shipping Disaster at Dungeness Approximately 15 years ago I was given an old Guide Book for Rye and Winchelsea which was printed at the start of the last century. Although a bit tatty it was more than readable, and read it I did, from cover to cover. Continue reading History in a Church Yard Near You