Born in 1939
My family and I lived above Roland Hide’s butcher shop at 4 Applesham Avenue, but moved across the road to number one in the same road in 1947, the year my brother John was born. My father started his shop in 1938,and expanded into grocery just after I was born in 1939. I still remember the nights of hiding under the stairs, when the sirens went off, and the flashes from the ‘ack ack’ guns on the old Dyke Railway railway embankment.
VE Day street party
There was a street party in the close up Applesham Avenue for VE Day, and we had a parade too .That was the night when the grown ups went crazy,and had impromptu bonfires, ripping up garden fences and anything else that would burn.There was also a party for the local kids, held in the army huts in what is now Clarke Avenue. I remember the Italian POWs working on the local farms, especially Braybournes, near to the Downsman public house.
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Rapid expansion in housing
At the time, Amberly Drive, only had a few houses, but building rushed ahead throughout the late 1940s up till the early 1960s. As kids we played on the railway embankment, getting covered in chalk, catching lizards,and the odd grass snake. Brian Howard was a keen ornithologist, and spent hours at Hangleton Manor. There was an old soldier called Darkie, who lived rough in the Long Hedge, at the back of our house. He moved into the old ammunition store in Hangleton Park, before passing away in the convent in Hove.
Watney’s Red Barrel
The landlord of the Grenadier was Reg Andrews,who had been a captain in the Home Guard, along with a load of old reprobates, including my Dad. Sid Campbell was the first landlord of the Downsman, his wife was Lydia, and they had a very pretty daughter,who married an RAF policeman.The beer of the day was Watney’s Red Barrel, which was downed in voluminous quantities. I used to deliver papers for the Bon-Bon, and also deliver meat and groceries for my parents, until I eventually joined the RAF, in 1957,and stayed for 29 years.