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Author Topic: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.  (Read 10164 times)

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Canterbury Bell

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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 23:09:49 »
My late husband Harry Howe was evacuated with Dover Boys Grammar School to EBBW VALE. His younger brother, Charlie was at the 'Elementary School' I was told, he went to Blackwood.
When Mrs. Howe went to post a parcel to her sons she returned to find that a shell had gone through next door- they lived at 9 Dickson Road.
She went to Blackwood also, her husband was in the R.N.
I was interested, after finding her Identity Card, that she lived in Cliff Road. There is now at last one branch of ASDA there according to google.
I was still at Infant's School in Canterbury but if anyone here was in Ebbw Vale or Blackwood, I would be interested to hear from them.
My younger son, Jeffery Howe (keen on family history), asked about this in the FBook Kent Site.


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2011, 10:31:59 »
I live, more or less, opposite the school - now converted into dwellings, The lad who lost his sight / hand was also disfigured - he was, according to one of my wife's relatives, a "good looking boy" and she told me that he was her first "boyfriend" and that it was such a shame that he had to suffer in this way. I think she said that he was also partially paralysed.


Offline kyn

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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2011, 09:17:08 »
14 Oct 1941


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 19:18:57 »
I'd be very surprised if they managed to get a butterfly bomb that far from it's landing place. Kids did & do pick anything up , there's still a couple of old boys around Newhaven that can't make 10 fingers between them from playing with a 20mm shell and a hammer & nail and it killed their mate


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 18:31:36 »
I was always under the impression that it was a grenade, but the thought that it might have been a Butterfly Bomb is interesting and would certainly go some way to explain why anyone would pick it up.
Most kids would I have thought recognised a grenade and left it well alone, but a Butterfly Bomb? We probably woudn't have recognised such a contraption for what it was and this places a more understandable
explanation for the dreadfully tragic event.

Offline unfairytale

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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2011, 17:53:27 »
My two Great Uncles were at St.Barts, on that day and also my neighbour. When I asked my Gr-Uncle about it he said the main thing he remembered was being sent home early! He told me it was a butterfly bomb that they were cleaning at the sink.
When you've got your back to wall, there's only one thing to do and that's to turn around and fight. (John Major)


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2011, 17:36:58 »
Hi Strangelights,
I feel sure that the story you mention is the same one that I experienced, the Winchelsea caves were but a short distance from the school, it is good to learn that one of those injured managed to repair his life, that knowledge in itself helps to soothe the memory of that horrific day, thanks for drawing that post to my attention.
Bert. (Dovorian).


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 17:27:12 »
Of course they didn't deserve the horrible injuries they suffered, they were youngsters living in Wartime and dangerous objects were occassionaly found in and around training areas, foolish they certainly were, but many of us got our fingers physically burned after rushing out in the street to collect the latest trophy of hot shrapnel or bullet case from an aerial battle. I once found a live Cannon shell which with the help of a friend managed to dismantle and investigate. We put it together again and handed it to my dad who immediately placed it in a bucket of water and called the Police.
I recollect the PC giving us a lecture about it and adding that someone had been badly injured by one of these things, I never let on to dad that we had unscrewed it!
I certainly wouldn't have picked up a grenade but there were obviously lads about less well informed about the dangers attached to such things.
As far as I recall the victims survived, there were three lads injured in the incident, to the best of my recollection one lad lost his sight and I think a limb, the others had serious but not life threatening injuries.
I was a keen Ian Allen fan and always carried his little book in the back pocket of my shorts fighting for space with my catapult. This was after the end of the war but my initial interest in steam trains started from watching them pass the school playground and from hanging over the railway bridge and getting a black face in Tower Hamlets Road. This special treat is of course denied the present generation by the installation of unsightly metal screening erected by the 'elf and safety brigade.
Not much of a loss I hear them say and tend to agree since the demise of the Goliaths of steam and their feeble replacement by 'electric' trains killed off the fun of train spotting.
But all that is probably another story!


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 16:46:51 »
I wonder if this explosion is the same one mentioned in the post of "Winchelsea air raid shelter". There is a mention of some boys from the area who found a Grenade that exploded when they took it to school and was washing it off in the sink.It doesnt seem to say which school this happened but the incident sounds similar.

Offline Alastair

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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 15:29:25 »
That sounds horrific, Dovorian. You and the others were lucky to survive, assuming they did all survive. Ghastly experience for all of you.
You mention trainspotting. WAs there much of that in the war years? It was popular in the 50's, largely through the encouragement of Ian Allen and it was 'The Thing To Do' then. But I don't know when it started.


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Re: Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 15:03:53 »
Did they survive it, Dovorian? I wasn't born till 1947 but my father always told me NEVER to pick up anything metal or glass that I found on the hills.


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Primary School Days 1940/45 Dover.
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 14:50:11 »
Primary School Days 1940-1945. St Bartholomew’s Widred Road, Dover.

I commenced my schooling at St Bartholomew’s Church of England primary school in Tower Hamlets, Dover.
Mr Bell was the Head Master and I remember him as being smartly dressed and not much bigger than some of his pupils.
In common with all schools in those days the pupils sat at desks facing the teacher which of course afforded the maximum teacher/pupil interaction.
There was also no talking or eating allowed in the classroom in pain of ‘The Stick’.
Some teachers carried ‘The Stick’ with them as a permanent accessory to their role in the classroom others kept it within easy reach!
Whilst I managed to avoid ‘The Stick’ for most of the time, the occasions that I became a victim were memorable for all the right reasons not least the painfully sore red line of raised skin on the palm of the hand.
It did hurt and was probably deserved but also had the added benefit of instant admission to the ‘cult of the caned’ plus a test of fighting back the tears, all of which done us NO harm whatsoever and might well serve to improve the outrageous behaviour of some of today’s loutish youth.
My school was but a short distance from my home and the other kids all came from within stones throw so to speak. We all arrived on foot most days, the exception being if we had a safety inspection for our bicycles. A few of us were blessed with a bike, maybe I was lucky living next door to a cycle shop?
But even this had its draw backs, as once my bike was snatched by a non bike owning bully boy which
left me somewhat distraught. I raced home to report matters to my dad who promptly sorted things out at the school and normality was restored.
Things were not so readily restored a few weeks later nor have they ever been forgotten from that day to this.
Remembering that it was wartime with air raids commonplace and the ordeal of regular shelling from the French coast which occurred without any warning whatsoever, we were well accustomed to loud bangs and diving for cover.
However, none of us were prepared for the enormous explosion that occurred in the toilet block of our playground whilst we were at play.
Our playground overlooked the South Eastern Railway Dover to Canterbury line and was a good spot for some train spotting.
It was a small playground with the toilet block on one side.
The explosion was caused as one of the older lads was showing his mates something he had found whilst roaming the hills around Dover. I later learned that he had had the device a number of weeks and had in fact taken it with him to the shelter where he and his family often slept.
As you have probably by now guessed the device was a hand grenade and probably one of his inquisitive mates had wanted to know what would happen if one were to remove the pin?

I had been a visitor to the toilet not so long before the explosion and the incident is but one of many that I count as lucky escapes.
The cries and moaning of the poor victims was terrifying, we were hurriedly ushered into our classrooms each and everyone of us suffering from shock.
Our classrooms were divided by paper thin walls with  glass panels at the top, they did nothing to mute the screams from the victims laid out next door.
Some of my braver school mates stood on chairs and gingerly peered over the top of the glass panels…..they didn’t remain standing for long and wobbled off their perches with horror.

After the poor victims had been removed to hospital we were given the afternoon off and told to go home immediately.
Some of us were determined to have a quick look at the scene of the explosion and I remember little pieces of something pink sticking to the walls of the toilet.

My elderly Grandmother bless her, later took me for a long walk to try and erase the distressing events of that morning at school.


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