Tanks in Rye

By Clifford Bloomfield

1940 Fair Meadow, Rye Hill, at that time was like open parkland and a good number of mature oak trees were spread over it. I recall seeing, when on our Sunday afternoon walks, a tented army camp with vehicles and tanks standing under the trees.

Late 1941 A large number, probably about 20, Waltzing Matilda medium tanks arrived at Rye Station by train. I watched them being unloaded into the Station Approach. Once they were all assembled, they moved off. I think the whole town turned out to see them. They went along Cinque Ports Street, Tower Street, Landgate and then turned into Bridge Place to cross the railway line across sleepers, as the bridge could not take their weight. They continued up Rye Hill and that was the last I saw of them.

1943 Convoys of military vehicles passing through were almost a daily occurrence, but this time they were accompanied by a large number of heavy Churchill tanks. They too passed through Cinque Ports Street, Tower Street, and Landgate, but at Deacon’s Corner, they turned into Bedford Place,. These ungainly vehicles were rather unpredictable when rounding the bend on the tarmac road. A number of them clipped the concrete kerbs along the frontage of the Bedford Arms. The evidence is still there. One of these tanks probably broke down soon after leaving Rye on the A259, for within a couple of days, a tank transporter, with tank, returned, retracing the original route of the tanks. But, when it was time to turn from Landgate into Tower Street, the driver changed his mind and tried to take it through it through the Landgate Tower, where it became lodged. It was freed by letting the air out of the transporter’s tyres. The tanks name was “Sawdust”. 1943 – 44 Frequent convoys were accompanied by tanks and armouredcars, generally, at this time, American Stewart’s and Sherman’s. Bombing Of the Radar Station August 12 The 1940 – On this morning, I had just crossed Monkbretton Bridge on my way home, when, looking down the long straight of New Road, two aircraft.

From “Rye’s Own “ October 2005

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