Part 03: Digging For Victory

We lived in Walpole Road and we had an allotment up behind the Royal Sussex County Hospital where all the houses are now. The only problem was the German planes would come low over the sea and then swoop upwards, they came low to avoid our radar, so obviously you had no protection up there at all. You were on the side of the hill and my dad used to say “Get in the shed!” and I thought what good would a wooden shed do against these German bombs and machine guns?

My brother and I would play of a winter when [Dad] had cleared all the ground. We used to make a city out of the plot of land which had been dug; roads and then we’d put in little bits of twigs for trees and that sort of thing and we’d have our little cars going “broom broom!!!!” up and down these roads.

But, oh yes, we grew everything on this allotment behind the Royal Sussex. My dad was quite a good gardener and he encouraged me to do the same. I remember going up there in the winter and picking brussel sprouts and they were solid with ice you know. My fingers were so cold by the time I’d picked these brussel sprouts. Oh heavens, I can still feel my fingers now!

Tony Simmonds was interviewed for the My Brighton and Hove website by Zoe Woods.

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