About the writer: Doug Clews lived in Chandler’s Ford between 1938 and 1966. Now living in Perth, Western Australia, Doug shares his fascinating childhood memories of Chandler’s Ford with us.
Extracts from The Doug Clews Story, or As I remember it, 81 years on.
Chamberlayne Road Boys School, Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh – September 1939
This was a Government School, which I attended for two weeks, as I was moved to Kings Road School, Chandler’s Ford at the outbreak of WW2.
My parents felt the move was necessary because of the fact that, the Southern Railway Loco, Wagon and Carriage Works, Pirelli General Cable Works, Causton’s Printing Works and Vicker’s Armstrong Aircraft Works were all in the area and they would be obvious targets for the Germans … as it happened, very few bombs landed on, or even near, any of the ‘targets’, although Pirelli’s did get a ’smattering’ of incendiaries, as I believe, did the Railway Works.
I can remember only three things about those two weeks – the bus trip to Eastleigh from home and back at a mammoth cost of 1d. each way, student fare, a play pit at the front of the classroom and a boy called Malcolm Norgate. I remember Malcolm particularly because he wore leg-irons, something I had never seen before, as well as the fact he travelled on the bus with me, as he lived in the next street to us, down Leigh Road, namely, North End Avenue, as it was then, later to become the western end of Chalvington Road.
Kings Road School, Kings Road, Chandler’s Ford – September 1939 to 1941
This was also a Government School and, at the time, the only school in Chandler’s Ford (apart from Sherbourne House private school), as Merdon had not been built, and the original C of E school on the corner of School Lane and Bournemouth Road (Currently Selwoods) had been closed. It was just called Kings Road School.
Although here for two years, there is little that stirs my memory, other than a couple of people with whom I re-established contact after MANY, MANY years, namely Peter (Smutty) Smith (now, unfortunately, deceased) and Ian Baldwin with whom I still have regular contact in 2015, who currently lives in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand.
(About the picture above: Extensive additions have been made to the original building, which is the central section in this 2001 photo.)
I remember the prim Head-mistress of the day (and for many years to follow) Miss Beatrice Olive Goulding (affectionately known as ‘Granny Goulding’, because, born in the 1880’s, she looked old enough to us kids to be our Grandmother). It is my belief, Miss Goulding became Headmistress shortly after the school opened in 1908, but I have not been able to find documented proof of that. She died in Winchester in 1964.
I remember her ‘inspections’ for ‘Head-lice’ as the whole School was lined up somewhere near her office and ‘Granny’ inspected every single child personally. There was also a Mrs. Empringham whom I remember, but only, I must confess, because for some reason or other, her name has stuck in my memory bank.
I remember Miss Bourne in my first class, Mrs. Drover, who had a daughter, Terry, at the school, Mrs. Tanton, who also had a daughter, Valerie, at the school, Mrs. Bean and Mr. Lush (I was later to become good friends with his son, Ron Lush, during my apprenticeship at Pirelli’s) …
I recall Reggie Moore, who broke a leg through slipping on wet leaves in the play-ground, whilst playing ‘crossovers’ (a game where 2 or more people linked arms by ‘crossing them over’ behind their backs and then ran round the play-ground thus linked, ‘sweeping’ other children in their wake … great fun for those linked).
This was my first exposure to a broken limb, and a sickening sound I don’t think I shall ever forget.
Other students I remember, are Ian Baldwin, June Baldwin, Peter Smith, John Forder, Donald Blythe, Bill Cordell, John Clarke, Eric Higlett, John Hammerton, Freda Hammerton, Betty Biddlecombe, Pat Haskell, Terry Drover, Brenda Goldsmith, Valerie Tanton, Keith Hubbard and Stella Scivier …
I remember Mrs. Scivier (Stella’s mum). They lived in a terrace house between Station Lane and a large advertisement hoarding on Bournemouth Road, just up the road from ‘The Parade’. Mrs. Scivier dragged me, and about 3 others, into her home whilst we were walking home from school one afternoon, after an air-raid warning siren had sounded. (The siren was mounted on a tall pole adjacent to the old post office in Bournemouth Road, opposite ‘The Parade’). Shortly afterwards, a German plane machine-gunned along Bournemouth Road from the direction of Southampton.
When I got home later, it turned out that my mother and a neighbour, Win Freestone (known to me as ‘Aunty Win’, although in no way related to the family), had also been caught out walking, and had ended up in a ditch, on the northern side of Bournemouth Road, near Velmore Road, where they had sought cover (in passing, unfortunately, Win’s husband, Sergeant John Churley Freestone, was killed on 14th. September 1942, along with the rest of the crew, when their Liberator Bomber (AL624), in which John was navigator, crashed into the side of a hill in Scotland, in foul weather, whilst on a ‘Training Exercise’).
Percy Hendy (Vickers Armstrongs)
By this period in the war, along with millions of other women up and down the country, my mother was doing her bit for the war effort by way of working at Vickers Armstrongs, in Bournemouth Road, Chandler’s Ford, which (I only discovered in 2007) produced and supplied parts for the Spitfire.
After the war, the Vickers factory and site became the Agricultural Machinery and Parts Division of Percy Hendy and, later, the major Ford Motor Company Car and Truck Dealership in Hampshire. The building, structurally largely unaltered from its original pre-war days, was finally demolished on 17th. September 2007, to make way for development.
The use of women in the war effort on the Home Front was definitely the start of Female Liberation and Equal Rights for Women. My mother later worked in the Ladies Fashion department of Tyrell and Green, a division of John Lewis Partnership, whose head office and main retail department store was in Oxford Street in London. She commenced at their Winchester ‘Buttercross’ store and, as a result, I was moved, at age 7, to Nethercliffe Preparatory School, in Hatherley Road Winchester.
By this time the Blitz was over, but the bombing in general was not. I remember a boy in my class at Nethercliffe School, John Kirby, being injured, quite severely, around his mouth and chin by flying glass from Murray’s Clothing Store shopfront, on the corner of City Road and Jewry Street, caused by a bomb which fell whilst John was on his way to school from his home in Hyde Street (see part 5 for a schoolboy’s account of this event).
What’s your memory of the war? Were you in Chandler’s Ford during the war? Please leave a comment and share your story with us.
Article Series by Doug Clews
- My Memories of ‘The War Years’ in Chandler’s Ford: 1939 – 1945 (Part 1)
- My Memories of ‘The War Years’ in Chandler’s Ford: 1939 – 1945 (Part 2)
- My Memories of ‘The War Years’ in Chandler’s Ford: 1939 – 1945 (Part 3)
- My Memories of ‘The War Years’ in Chandler’s Ford: 1939 – 1945 (Part 4)
- My Memories of ‘The War Years’ in Chandler’s Ford: 1939 – 1945 (Part 5)
- My Memories of ‘The War Years’ in Chandler’s Ford: 1939 – 1945 (Part 6)
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