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Author Topic: Home Life in WW2  (Read 136753 times)

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Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #120 on: November 04, 2010, 09:50:51 »
The Chatham Empire was a 'music hall' type theatre with a cinema underneath it, called the 'Picture House'. I don't know if it had accomodation but it could possibly have had a flat for the manager, etc. I can say that the Empire survived the war, so if your aunt died there it was not due to an air-raid.

I'm sure there is more information on the Forum, and I'll look to see what I can find.  

In the meantime you might lilke to look at the photos in this link. I've started at No25. No27 shows the Empire with the Pictu
re House entance next door, although the cinema itself was underneath the Empire, reached down a long corridor. Photos from No31 show some Empire programmes:
http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/query/results/?Mode=ShowImg&Img=/cityark/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_15.html/DE402_15_18.jpg

I`ve just been looking at picture No.25 showing the full length picture of Florrie Forde on a Chatham Theatre. I assume it is Barnard`s not the Empire. I have a recording of her singing "Swing me up a little bit higher, Obadiah, do" on a very fragile cylinder. Apparently a number one hit of that era. I remember my father playing it on an old machine which I still have but, unfortunately, the spring has broken. It starts with a very `crackly` voice saying "this is an Edison Belle recording". I ought to have the machine restored!




Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #119 on: August 18, 2010, 20:47:21 »
But they couldn't hide those deep 'chin' radiators which didn't look right on the Me109s and He111s.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #118 on: August 18, 2010, 18:53:31 »
Some films should just never be re-made.  BOB is one of them.

I agree completely, although a digital remaster where they put proper Me-109 and He-111 engine sounds over the Merlins the Spanish Air-force aircraft they used in the film would be a nice improvement! :)
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moggyrud

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #117 on: August 18, 2010, 18:07:12 »
Thank you for those memories!! According to my dad she was quite a girl.....and perhaps she was in the theatre in 1940! l know that she wasn't married to the man she was with....a William Cutler......but that she might have gone by his name...Beatrice Cutler. Might be one of those things in life that l will never know. l am actually waiting for her death certificate to come back...so may find out more. She had lived in battersea as a child....so may have moved out to run the Empire.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #116 on: August 18, 2010, 11:55:09 »
Back to Moggyruds query about the Empire.
There's some photos of the Empire here, at Replies#6 & 9: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=2348.0
I have 2 specific memories of the Empire. (a) Being in the Picture House on 7 September 1940 (see Reply#3 of this thread), (b) passing the Empire with my Mum and Gran when a man came out and asked directions to somewhere. We realised afterwards that he was one of the Crazy Gang ? does anyone remember them?

As a publican after the war, my dad got two free tickets a week for displaying Empire posters in the bar, and a mate and I generally used those. Occasionally there was a so-called 'strip-show', where the curtains opened to reveal some girls in static pose (and little else), but before our eyes could pop out of our heads the curtains closed again. So it went on for a dozen or so poses, each having a title such as 'The Waterfall' or 'The Flower'.

So thanks, Moggyrud, for reviving memories of my youth. :)
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #115 on: August 18, 2010, 10:01:13 »
It'll have a short battle.... great big love scene in the middle where the American gets the girl and a battle at the end.....  :)

And where would they get the planes from to make a new film today?

There was a film shown during the war called "A Yank in the RAF" starring Errol Flynn, during which his bomber over Germany (a Lockheed Hudson!!!) on a leaflet dropping mission, was caught in searchlights; he dealt with this by throwing the still tied-up bundles down the searchlight beams - I kid you not. I think there was an outcry that such rubbish was shown in British cinemas during wartime; the worrying thing was that it would have been shown elsewhere in the world. And I think Errol Flynn also won the war in Burma.

However, we must be fair. Seven US pilots flew in the BoB. Regulations prohibited enlistment of nationals from neutral nations, so most of these claimed to be, and were accepted as, Canadians. The most famous was Pilot Officer Billy Fiske of 601 (County of London) Squadron, who claimed one kill before crashing on 16 August 1940 and dying next day.

Eventually 3 'Eagle' squadrons were formed in Fighter Command, made up of American (or 'Canadian, etc') pilots, before the US entered the war, and I don't think any of them claimed to have 'won the war'.

There was a British film, I think called "The Way to the Stars", starring John Mills et al, that included a much more true to life portrayal of the US Air Force in the UK.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #114 on: August 18, 2010, 00:55:00 »

Re the new film: If the Americans are going to make it there is a 4th possibility. Guess what that is :).


I thought everybody already knew that the few American pilots in Britain single handedly won the Battle of Britain. It must be true, it was in the Pearl Harbour film....
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #113 on: August 17, 2010, 22:19:48 »
PS to previous but 1 reply. Possibilty (b) has actually happened to some extent. Keith Park, AOC 11 Group that bore the brunt of the battle, was criticised for sending his squadrons into action in 'penny packets'. This led to a dispute with 12 Group, to the north, which often took time to assemble its squadrons into big wings, even while 11 Group was sometimes pleading "we want help NOW!" This culminated in the unedifying event portrayed in the film, where Douglas Bader, a Squadron Leader in 12 Group, was allowed to argue in a meeting with Keith Park, an Air Vice-Marshall. Whatever happened behind the scenes may never be known, but ACM Dowding was 'rested' soon after the battle and was never given another operational command. The next C-in-C of Fighter Command was Leigh-Mallory, previously AOC 12 Group, who supported Bader's 'Big Wing' theories. These theories proved successful when the RAF took the fight over the channel in 1941, because there was plenty of time to assemble the formations. Hence Bader was supposedly vindicated and Park was given a job in Training Command and later made AOC Egyptian air defences..

Re the new film: If the Americans are going to make it there is a 4th possibility. Guess what that is :).

Moggyrud, there are members of the forum who know more than me about researching details of individual persons, and I expect someone will be able to help you. The other info I promised is 'in the oven'.

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moggyrud

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #112 on: August 17, 2010, 21:34:39 »
Thank you for that. l will look at the photos. So....if the Empire wasn't hit then she wasn't  injured there! She actually was on the music halls herself....with her sister...my grt gran.....and in the 1901 census she was down as an actress......so l wasn't surprised to find her at a theatre!! l did try to find an obituary or something...but couldn't. It's hard for me to do lookups at librarys as l don't live in kent.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #111 on: August 17, 2010, 21:29:03 »
It'll probably be one of those re-writes of history that sets out to prove:
(a)it didn't actually happen, or
(b)if it did happen, the RAF did it all wrong, or
(c)if the RAF didn't do it wrong, we shouldn't have fought the battle anyway because some innocent people got hurt.
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Offline afsrochester

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #110 on: August 17, 2010, 20:51:45 »
I heard over the weekend that someone is going to re-make the film " The Battle of Britain."

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #109 on: August 17, 2010, 20:34:52 »
The Chatham Empire was a 'music hall' type theatre with a cinema underneath it, called the 'Picture House'. I don't know if it had accomodation but it could possibly have had a flat for the manager, etc. I can say that the Empire survived the war, so if your aunt died there it was not due to an air-raid.

I'm sure there is more information on the Forum, and I'll look to see what I can find.  

In the meantime you might lilke to look at the photos in this link. I've started at No25. No27 shows the Empire with the Picture House entance next door, although the cinema itself was underneath the Empire, reached down a long corridor. Photos from No31 show some Empire programmes:
http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/query/results/?Mode=ShowImg&Img=/cityark/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_15.html/DE402_15_18.jpg

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moggyrud

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #108 on: August 17, 2010, 18:27:10 »
l have enjoyed reading your memories of ww11 in chatham.l wonder if you have any memories of the Empire Theatre? l recently read the will of my 2xgrt aunt.....Beatrice Wilson...and at her death in 1941 it said that she lived there. Is that possible? Was there living accommadation? l read what you said about the air-raids and wondered if perhaps she had been injured orkilled in one. l would be very interested in any memories that you or anyone else might have of the theatre and/or of my aunt.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #107 on: August 17, 2010, 15:44:37 »
The book 'Battle of Britain - The Jubilee History' gives more details of the raid on Brize Norton. The Airspeed Oxford trainers of 2 Service Flying Training School had received their daily inspections and been refuelled for next days flying and put into the hangars (9-5 hours even at that stage of the war!). In the evening 2 Ju88s appeared, lowered their undercarriages, and made a landing approach. They were not challenged and at the last moment raised their wheels and dropped 32 bombs on the hangars, destroying 46 Oxfords. Due to earlier damage to the radar stations their presence inland was not known and the ROC was not tracking them, so not a shot was fired at them the whole time they were over England.

Because the masts generally appeared undamaged and they were usually back on air quickly, the Lufwaffe didn't appreciate how vulnerable we were immediately following attacks on radar stations. If they had put on a mass raid that evening, instead of a sneak raid by just 2 aircraft, the consequences don't bear thinking about.

A further example of how chance can have an undue influence was the case of a 266 Squadron pilot whose body was washed up on the French coast. Against all regulations he was carrying an unposted letter to his parents describing how he had been bombed at Eastchurch, causing the Germans to conclude that this was a fighter station instead of a Coastal Command station, when in fact he had been caught there while on a temporary stop. Consequently many tons of bombs were, from the BoB viewpoint, wasted on this airfield. Thus did a breach of discipline turn to our advantage.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #106 on: August 17, 2010, 13:01:11 »
I thought it would be interesting to compare how events were reported at the time with post-war records.

                    This is how the Daily Telegraph reported the BoB events of 16 August 1940 (from today's Telegraph):
                    

                    This is reproduced from 'The Narrow Margin' by Wood & Dempster:
                
  

Apologies for the quality of the 2nd report, but to summarize:
At the time it was reported that 71 German planes were destroyed, for the loss of 18 RAF fighters and 8 pilots.

'The Narrow Margin' states that 45 German planes were destroyed, for the loss of 22 RAF fighters and 8 pilots, plus the loss of over 50 aircraft destroyed on the ground, and many more damaged, although most were not fighters. The fact that 46 aircraft  of 2SFTS were destroyed in the hangars must say something about 'security' at that station!
 
Interestingly, the attack that the Telegraph reported on Eastbourne is not mentioned in 'The Narrow Margin'.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

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