As a child I lived in the village of Playden, near Rye in East Sussex, close to the boundary with Kent. It is a village where the centre housed the church, village hall and The Peace and Plenty pub. Not far from there was the school which my brother and I attended until we were eleven years old. We lived on the far reaches of the village near The River Rother and close to the lock gates and the Star Inn pub.
I was seven years old when the Second World War ended and until then we had been restricted in our movements. Having to show identity cards wherever we went. Suddenly we could roam free. Dad had a small arable farm on the far side of the river to where we lived. Also a market garden, a grain drying unit and he reared pigs and kept hens. We knew all the local farmers and felt free to play in the fields around us. Continue reading The Joys of Owning a Bike
It’s that time of year again. The Bonfire Boys Flag flies over The Landgate and preparations are being made for the annual invasion of the streets of Rye by pirates, witches, Kings and Queens, skeletons, wenches, Cavaliers and Roundheads. Continue reading Bonfire Magic
I was born in World War Two so my own recollections of the times are limited but the vivid descriptions of incidents that were witnessed by my mum and dad and recited to me many times, remain indelible in my mind. Continue reading Jimper’s War
By Maggie George (illustration, Mike Hall) Like many people, I find it so satisfying at the end of a hard day to be able to come in from the cold winter chill and settle in front of the television. I love to watch my favourite programmes which I’ve recorded and promised myself I’d catch up with at a later date. Continue reading Herman Remote Controlled
Arthur Woodgate has been writing articles recording his memories of Rye for many years. His recollections and deductions have appeared consistently in “Rye’s Own” over the past dozen years and in other Rye publications previous to that. Continue reading Greatest Living Ryer
Eugenius Birch designed the 138-year-old Hastings Pier, badly burnt on Monday night, 4th October 2010. The Earl of Granville opened it on the Bank Holiday, 5th.August 1872 and hailed it as the “peerless pier a pier without a pier.” The Pier suffered another fire in 1917, which burnt down a spectacular Pavilion. Continue reading Pier Disaster
As the media recently reminded us it is Seventy years since the Battle
of Britain and Sixty-Five years since V E Day. I was only two when
war broke out so all through that time I was too young to understand
what it was all about.
In 1940, when the danger of invasion was imminent, my mother, my youngest
brother and I, together with some others from Rye, were evacuated
to Taunton in Devon for six weeks. My brother was eleven and I was
three. We weren’t happy there, we didn’t have a very nice billet.
My brother went to school. I remember my mother reading me some stories
about the Bruin Boys.
We all missed my father and when he wrote it made us cry. On the day
that I knew we were going home I jumped up and down on my bed with
excitement. I fell off the bed and banged my head on the bedroom door,
no serious injury was sustained.
When I was five I started school at the Ferry Road Primary School.
We all had to take gas masks wherever we went, fortunately they were
never needed. When I was old enough to walk to school alone (six or
seven), I was always afraid that the siren would sound and I would
have to find a shelter to go to and I wouldn’t know what to do. Thankfully
that never happened. If the siren went while we were at school we
had to get under our desks. Occasionally we had to go to the big brick
shelter in the playground. There was one shelter in the Primary playground
and another in the Senior.
There were four serious bombing raids on Rye during the time I was
at school. One raid happened when I was at school. My mother became
very panicky and wanted to go straight to the school in case it had
been hit! My middle brother was at home. He pacified her and told
her that the school was all right, although I don’t think he actually
knew! It hadn’t been struck and all the children were safe.
At home when the siren went we used to crowd into the cupboard under
the stairs. One night it must have been going more than usual, none
of us could sleep, so we went into the back garden. One or two neighbours
were also in their gardens. One family was drinking tea and they called
I can remember my two youngest brothers standing at the window of
our back bedroom, which was my bedroom, waiting to see if any Doodlebugs
were coming. I liked them doing that when I was in bed. A few Doodlebugs
did come over on various nights.
Even wartime had its moments of humour. One evening, one of Rye’s
leading businessmen was walking in the High Street in the dark (because
of the blackout), when he bumped into something. Thinking it was a
person he said “I beg your pardon”. Later it emerged it was a pile
One of our friends who lived in Bedford was an ARP Warden. One night
he was called out in a rush and mistakenly put his wife’s knickers
on instead of his underpants! They both had a good sense of humour.
Of course, the War was a very tragic and sad affair. My family had
its share of sadness when, in 1944, my eldest brother was killed on
active service in Italy. This was a big blow, although we knew it
might happen. The rest of us survived the War and lived to tell about