News: In 1834 a 13 metre long Iguanadon fossil was found in Queen’s Road in Maidstone
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Author Topic: Pee Cee's World  (Read 126976 times)

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Offline Paul

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Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 13:06:54 »
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline peterchall

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Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 12:32:37 »
I pity that poor horse in the photo of the outing. I wonder where it was going - probably no further than the Strand.

A sign of the times, and still much the same in my early days, is that everyone going on the outing was a man. All the women were probably indoors making the sandwiches.

It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline Paolo

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Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2014, 09:29:03 »
Fascinating stuff, PC, especially with the supporting pics. 

The lightship visible from Shorncliffe would have been the Varne.  In days gone by the Mayor of Folkestone would visit the vessel at Christmas laden with goodies from the townspeople.

Offline oobydooby

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Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2014, 09:08:22 »
Thanks, a good read, and you're so fortunate to have some photographs to illustrate your story.
©2014 A Hayes

Astronomers always look into the past.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Pee Cee's World
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2014, 08:52:45 »
Thank you Peterchall.

A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline peterchall

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Pee Cee's World
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2014, 08:38:54 »
Much of my story has been on KHF already, so I propose to give only an outline here (until I get carried away, that is!), but am happy to enlarge on anything I’m asked to, especially if it helps the youngies to get the feel of what life was like for we oldies in the ‘good old days’ when we were youngies.

I was born on 25/6/1929 at my Maternal Grandparents’ home at 88 Queen Street, Rochester. My father was a Sergeant in the Queen’s Own  Royal West Kent Regiment and my parents lived in Married Quarters (MQs) at Maidstone Barracks. My mother had been a domestic servant (the occupation of a vast number of working class girls in the early 20th century) for a family by the name of Sullivan in a big house on Maidstone Road, Rochester. I have no idea what the Sullivans did, only that my Grandmother also worked part time for them until somewhere about the mid-30s. My Grandfather was a machinist in the Dockyard. To complete the picture of my mother’s side of the family, she had an older brother who started working life as a Dockyard Apprentice but I first knew him as the Police Sergeant at Eccles – he had 2 daughters, one about 5 years older than me and one a few months younger. Mum’s younger brother was only 9 years older than me and so was still at school when I first remember him. He became a plumber and eventually became Clerk of Works at the army Barracks in Gutersloh, Germany in the 1960s and later Clerk of Works at the RAF base at Lyneham, Wilts. Because of the small age difference, we were more like brothers than uncle and nephew. He had a daughter who in turn has a son who works at the head office of my youngest daughter’s firm, thus they have met via company meetings without, at first, realising they are related – small world!

All I really know about my Paternal Grandparents is that my Grandfather was landlord of the Man of Kent pub in John Street, Rochester. Dad’s older brother had 3 boys who I used to associate with loosely as kids, and he also had a sister who I never met.

My father is the soldier at the front:

In early 1930 Dad’s Battalion – 2nd Btln RWK – moved to Guernsey and we had MQs in Castle Cornet, St Peter Port. The MQs were the block at the left in this photo – I only wish I could remember it!

I’m the one on the seat:

Then in 1932 it was to Napier Square, Blenheim Barracks, Aldershot.
Napier Square:

Note the communal washing lines – out of sight is the communal laundry block.

Unlike Maidstone or Canterbury, which were towns with a barracks, Aldershot was a lot of barracks with a town attached - it still calls itself “The Home of the British Army”
This kind of thing was a common sight:

My dad is 4th from the back in the near column.

It was from then that I have my earliest memories.

The Kitchener stove in the living room, on which Mum did all the cooking, summer and winter - ours had the fire on the left:

Our dog Bonzo, who got run over – the first tragic event of my life that I remember:

 Some Random Memories
•   There was the regimental band, with its white Billy Goat mascot in his brightly coloured coat, headed by the Drum Major.
•   The annual Aldershot Military Tattoo.
•   Getting milk from a horse drawn 2-wheeled milk float, served from open churns into your own jug that you took out to the milk-float.
•   A pair of runaway army horses dragging the wreckage of some sort of wagon down Queen’s Avenue.
•   I think it was there that we had our first radio, although since in those days they needed a long outdoor aerial and we had a ground floor ‘flat’ with no garden, I’m not sure how it could have been arranged.
•   Going to see the Battalion off for its annual camp and getting upset because dad, in the Regimental Cycle Platoon, was looking the other way as he went past, so didn’t see me waving.
•   Picnics on The Common overlooking Farnborough airfield and the Royal Aircraft Establishment.

I started school in September 1934 at a civilian school in Farnborough, so perhaps the army schools were full. But I don’t remember much about it because before the end of the year the Battalion moved to Shornecliffe, Kent.

And so we found ourselves in Shornecliffe camp, in a MQ identical to this:

We had a top floor quarter overlooking the channel and could see the Goodwin Sands lightship (North or South Goodwins?)

I went to the army school in the barracks and the teachers were Queen’s Army Schoolmistresses, employed by the army and not the LEA. For some lessons at least, we wrote with chalk on slates, and heating was by pot-bellied stove in the middle of the classroom. I was taken to/from school by an older girl and on the way home one day jumped up and down in a puddle and got wet though. When I told my mother that I’d fallen in the puddle the girl told her what had really happened and I got an ear wigging for telling lies – rotten ***.

There was a scare when Germany sent troops into the Rhineland (the area between the Rhine and the German border with Holland and Belgium) and the Battalion was put on some sort of alert to do something about it – but nothing happened, the German troops stayed put and WW2 came one small step closer.

Dad was getting towards the end of his army service and I have a memory of him having been away for the day on a job interview and coming back to say he hadn’t got the job. It was a time of high unemployment and, even as a 6-year old, I could sense my parents’ worries in that respect.

For some reason I have a clear memory of a discussion with my parents about the year 2000. When it was worked out that I would be 71 in that year there was a general acceptance that I would not see it – thus has our expectation of life increased since then.

The whole of my parents’ married life had been spent in fully furnished MQs, and Dad commuted part of his pension to get a lump sum to buy furniture. I remember going shopping for almost everything from cutlery upwards, and I still have a book-case and a gate-leg table that I inherited from that shopping spree.

And so, after 20 years service, Dad left the army in April 1935 to face the uncertainties of civvy life.

To be continued…..
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful


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