By Jim Hollands
The photograph on the center pages is from the Arthur Woodgate collection
and shows him and his classmates as they were about 1920.
There will be few who recognise the faces but the list of names is
a very different thing. They are old Rye names, almost to a man, and
they went on to forge a great part of the town’s pre and post war
Phil Weller, Reg Ashenden, Bert Firrel, Norman Firrel, George Playford,
Colin Batcheler, George Almond, Stuart Tiltman, John Ditcher, Eddie
Forward, Jim Hollands, Bob Kimpton, Alan Harrow, Geof. Gladwish, Tom
Hatter, Fred Weller, ArthurWoodgate, Frank Mushet, Cecil Wooley, Arthur
Sewet, Cecil Tiltman, Bill Care, Bob Goodsell, Stan Wright, Frank
Small and Norman Smith.
These boys were not from the elite class of Rye society, they were
the children of honest working folk. The Lion Street School, situated
on a site donated by John Meryon for the education of the children
of Rye ‘in perpetuity’, provided a basic education. Thanks to the
dedication of teachers the calibre of Sidney Allnut an education level
far above that envisaged, was attained by the lads that passed through.
Here were the bricklayers, builders, entrepreneurs, painters & decorators,
bakers, borough engineers, cobble street maintainers, justice of the
peace, policemen, refuse collectors and general labourers that would
make Rye tick during the thirties, forties, fifties and beyond.
Those still living are in their ninety-fifth year, we only know of
two for certain, Arthur Woodgate and John ‘Sunny’ Ditcher.
There will be sons, daughters, grand children, great grand children
and even great, great grandchildren of these old Ryers who lived through
two World Wars residing in and around Rye. What stories and pictures
can they provide telling of the life and achievements of the boys
pictured in this iconic photograph?
I am proud to say that my own father, Jim Hollands, who died in 1969
is was one of those lads.