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Memories of The Street – Appledore 1940

The Second World War has begun – Still living in Lydd

There were great activities near us because of the local Artillery Ranges where my father worked would be a an obvious target for the enemy. So in preparation for an invasion all the men were given jobs that would be carried out at short notice. Dad’s job was to blow-up the main petrol supply. He had to practice it and be timed. This entailed running out with an explosive charge, opening a ground level lid from the top of underground petrol well much like those today at petrol stations we use. Then set the hose, drop the charge down the well and run back to a low wall of sandbags some distance away and threw himself down on the ground behind it in so many seconds He eventually achieved it. Next he had to jump on his bike . Then ride like mad to APPLEDORE and get across the canal before the bridge was blown-up. Which was very prominent I remember seeing it like a tee handle above a square black box. Having made it he would then have to get inside a concrete blockhouse on the canal bank before the bridge exploded showering rubble every where!

Appledore became the main way out from the marsh both by road and by train as the others were right on the coast at Rye and Hythe . Our parents arranged a private evacuation for my little sister and I to travel with our Grandmother to South Wales. We set off through Appledore by train.

It was soon after this that they sent a man down to organise the laying of mines everywhere. So dad who was in charge of the ranges was sent out to observe where the mines were laid. Soon after the man organizing it stepped on a mine & blew himself up. So dad was asked to go round and map out where he remembered they had been laying them and make new maps. Meanwhile the lorries bringing the mines and the live ammunition were using the road through Appledeore Street as their route into the Marsh. Others coming by rail through Appledore Station.

The Final Chapter, 1942, 3 & 4