Message from Dee Parker Regarding the German pilot who was shot down and taken
away by the home guard, my mum was taken to see him as she spoke
German and found him to be a "very nice man" my dad
was in the home guard. Our windows were blown out in Applegarth
Drive when the V2 fell on the Dick Turpin. France's Perkins the
daughter, later married my best friends brother who sadly died
Message from Ann Wilderspin: My mother in law lived at the corner of Carter Drive
and Horns Road during the war. She, and her best friend, were
due to met two Americans in the Dick Turpin. They were running
late, as ladies do, and were only half away there on the footpath
when the V2 landed on the Dick Turpin. If they had been on time
they would both have been killed as well. If the bomb had not
landed my husband would not have been here! Lots of incendiaries
were dropped on the farmland on Fairlop Plain if the aircraft
carrying them missed London.
My father used to stand outside his home in
Little Heath and 'count the planes out and count them back' from
Fairlop airfield. The RAF wrecked Aldborough Hall when they were
billeted there which resulted in its demolition after the war.
I believe that the bulk of the planes flown from Fairlop were
piloted by Poles. There was a American camp sited where Little
Heath Tennis Club is now situated. My fathers family befriended
one of them and they communicated by letter after the war.
Message from Frederick
D Cotter: Read the write up re William Torbitt, and I do not remember
any bomb damage as it says? Ever. And as I was there till 1941
and thought I could certainly name most bombs or doodle bugs around
I find that strange - we had masking tape and never even lost
a window ?
Davis was Headmaster when Puffa Train went with the school evacuation.
Fredk. D. Cotter
Message from Frederick
D Cotter: As one person who was never evacuated, there were about
15 children left in the whole of Newbury Park and we eventually
had lessons in a teacher's home, opposite Downshall school where
the bridge is? Meads Lane. I was transferred from Downshall but
do not remember anyone in the only photo, I am sorry to say. The
only thing is we had individual photos I am sure then, I would
note that is the first school you could go to the toilet without
getting wet! And note the boy Jack Shrope terrible accident in
the underpass, on his small pedal bike, his face was permanently
smashed in. As we went to London nearly daily I also was in the
Mile End when it went up in smoke, also when the land mine killed
all the airmen outside the pub in the road by the school, and
when the 1000 lb bomb landed outside the Green Gate Pub, which
made all the traffic by pass our shop in Ley Street so I always
got a free lift to school then. This was in 1940, from memory.
I emigrated to Tasmania in 1985, leaving behind 4 kids –
9 grand kids, and now 3 great grand kids, and only wished I had
made it 1950 when I wanted to come.
I would be pleased to hear from any one if they have not karked
it yet of course
Fredk. D. Cotter
All my details are my web sites www.tasmania-real-estate.com
this leads into our Bali site, enter ninetieth years in July,
and still manage a 50-60 hour week, or even just put in frederick
d. cotter into google cheers.
Hope some old school friends still around to hear from, love to
come to a reunion, but my teacher lady in a wheel chair now.
I am surprised to find no mention of Mrs. Swain
anywhere on this site (or if there is, I have missed it). She
taught the senior class, the 10-year-olds, during the war years.
She was the best teacher I ever came across. She really knew how
to inspire her pupils and to encourage them in all sorts of interests.
I heard of her again several years later in 1953. I was abroad
at the time, and my mother told me she had met her. I believe
she had retired by then.
In 1941 (I think it was), the grass in the playing
field was allowed to grow all through the summer, and was cut
in the autmn to make hay. Whoever cut it must have cursed the
children who had made mazes and dens in it! The hay was formed
into a haystack in the north corner of the playing field next
to Aldborough Road. But alas, this valiant attempt to help the
war effort came to nothing. The haystack caught fire by spontaneous
combustion. I remember seeing the flames and smoke starting and
the school caretaker dashing past me into the school, presumably
to phone the Fire Brigade. But it was too late. The haystack was
Seven Kings Park: I remember the site near the
Bedford Road entrance as a barrage balloon site, and I have reason
to remember it; I used to zigzag across the allotments from the
Wellington Road entrance to Aldborough Road on my way to school.
One morning there was a high-pitched singing noise, and I saw
a cable snaking and curling down towards me. It landed about thirty
feet away. The balloon had broken free of its cable.
And on the Scots Guards: On one occasion they
held an exercise on the rough ground on which the Aldborough Court
flats were later built and in the school grounds (only in front
of the school, I think). All very exciting for us, with blank
cartridges being fired and thunderflashes going off.
Between September 1939 and the reopening of
the school in June 1940, those children who had not been evacuated
were taught by staff members in small groups in private houses:
in my case by Mr. Allan in a house in Westwood Road. There were
about six of us in his class, I think.
From Alan Osborne (Infant
Class of 1937, the day the school opened)
Have enjoyed looking at some of the Torbitt site. Well done to
A couple of my war memories include my mother hosting school classes
in her home during a period or periods when the school was out
of action. The teacher and several children had their classes
in our dining room whilst I was sent out into the garden whilst
they were there.
Has anyone ever mentioned the billetting of the Scots Guards in
Spearpoint Gardens and Abury Gardens, now called Aldborough Road
North? They took over several empty houses and Abury House opposite
to where I lived, was their H.Q. I never tired of watching them
Changing the Guard each day. All the children used to ask them
for badges and buttons, but I was the lucky one when one Guardsman
fired a blank round in one of the houses so I could have the brass
cartridge! I seem to remember eventually swapping it for two Beanos
and a Dandy (comics). My parents became friendly with two of the
Guardsmen and they used to come to our house a few evenings a
week and play Darts or Cribbage with my father until they were
sent to North Africa.
When the war broke out all those children that were not being
evacuated with the school were asked what they were going to do
. I put up my hand and said I was going away with my family to
Hockley. Frank Mooney, also in my class, said the same . His parents
had a holiday bungalow in Hockley. From then on we became firm
friends. We are still lifelong friends and as he still lives in
the U.K. we correspond by E Mail. We are both 80 next year.
I remember so clearly our class
was sent down to one of the infants classes where we were all
fitted for gas masks. Just talking about it brings back the smell
of the gas masks (funny how different smells bring back memories).
It was a thrilling day when one
girl was chosen and one boy to go with Miss Honey to meet Queen
Mary. I was the girl chosen and a boy named Charles. We went on
the bus to the King George hospital where the Queen was to open
a new wing. However the Queen was involved in a car accident and
was unable to attend. The duchess of Athlone came in her place.
I practised for a week doing a curtsey and making a speech. My
Mother made me a new blue dress It was a Deanna Durbin style (she
was the film star of the day). It was a beautiful memory to look
back on. A brass band was playing and every time I hear a brass
band I get a tear in my eye.
Thursday lunch hour was spent in
the hall at school as several of us were learning the violin.
The music teacher was named Miss King.
From: Robert Smith
I remember the last two war years at the school
with lessons in the corridor and a rocket blowing out all the
windows - a day off!
From: Dennis Shrubshall
My Sister Dorothy Violet was at the Torbitt
School when it transferred from Downshall She was born in 1927
and lived in the Railway Cottages next to Newbury Park Station.
Her maiden name was Shrubshall. I am 7 years younger but remember
being with her on Ilford Station to get on a train and we had
labels on our collars of our with names. My two elder brothers
also were there and we all finished up at Stowmarket. I went to
Newbury Park School as did my eldest Brother but the other one
went to Downshall School.. Ironically in 1943 My younger Brother
Alan who was at Willliam Torbitt and I were evacuated again and
lo and behold went to Nacton School and lived in Levington. Like
others have mentioned when we reached Ipswich we transferred to
coaches for the final journey. I am trying to identify my sister
in any of the photos as she is 80years old on 29th March and it
would be a surprise. I will visit the site again to see if I can
find anything about my young Brother as he sadly died 8 years
ago. Any help you could give would be gratefully appreciated.
From Ruth Bartlett, nee Davey
Further to the item on Seven Kings Park - there was an ack-ack
unit there near the Bedford Road entrance during 1941-1943.
Also, I seem to remember a deep dug air raid shelter. When we
stayed in it our whole family caught scabies and had to have sulphur
baths to get rid of it.
From Shirley Bowl (later Shirley
We had gas mask practice every Friday morning. The boys used to
breath heavily to make a "raspberry" noise. We kept
a barleysugar sweet inside the gas mask. This was supposed to
keep us going if we had to actually wear them in a raid but most
of them got eaten since sweets were in such short supply!
From Mavis Nelson:
I read on a previous message that it was Roy Perkins who was killed
when the V2 fell on the Dick Turpin - in actual fact it was Phil
Perkins, Roy's brother, and when it was rebuilt Roy Perkins took
over as governor of the Dick Turpin for many years.
The war unnerved all the children. I stayed
home in Ilford until 1944 when I went up th Doncaster for a while,
when the Doodle bugs started, but came home the day the first
.............Seven Kings Park
was made over to allottments and I remember watching a V1 from
behind a compost heap as its engine cut out and we waited to see
if it would drop straight down or glide on, it took the latter
course and went on toward Barkingside before exploding. The two
houses next to the park were taken out by a V2, I think there
were fatalities. At school we had to sit in the corridors, with
our gasmasks, when the siren went.
the crest to visit the Fairlop Airfield Website.
(This will open a new browser window - click back on this window
to return to this page).
........ a German airman who was
shot down, parachuted on to the fields behind Aldborough Farm
and was captured by some of our neighbours in Applegarth Drive,
given a cup of tea, and led away by the Home Guard. Somehow or
other, my Mum got hold of his parachute, cut it up and used it
From Barbara Nicholls
After the scholarship came the holidays and then the war. We were
evacuated (my young sister and I) to Ipswich on the first of September
1939. I cant really remember the preparations but I do remember
being on the train at Ilford Station and arriving in Ipswich.
We were taken to a church hall I think and then were allowed to
have some of the goodies out of the bag we had all been given
(I remember there were custard cream biscuits and a tin of corned
beef and I think some chocolate but what else Ive forgotten
although I do remember the brown paper carrier bag it was in!)
There were lots of people about and a lot of
noise then this elderly lady said yes she would take me and my
sister. We went to Felixstowe Road in a car (we werent used
to cars and were a bit afraid). The ladys name was Mrs Chipperfield
and she had a husband, a daughter and a son. The daughter (Violet
known as Auntie Vi to us) was staying with her at the time on
holiday from Wirral in Cheshire where she lived with her husband.
The son (Uncle Fred to us) lived a few doors away from Mr &
Mrs Chipperfield with his wife Evelyn. Fred was a grocer and a
part time Special Constable. He was quite chubby, has a big moustache
and was great fun. Auntie Vi was beautiful and took great care
of us whilst she was there. Aunty and Uncle Chips (as we called
Mr & Mrs Chipperfield ) looked after us very well; quite differently
from how we were used to. Strict but in a different way from how
our parents were strict. The first night we slept well in a huge
double bed with a feather mattress we had a lovely bedroom
too. Next morning we got up and had breakfast and then we stood
at the gate watching the trolleybuses go by and feeling very miserable
and grizzling a bit. We found it peculiar at first as we had constant
attention, which we werent used to coming from a big family,
but soon settled down. No tantrums allowed there but no clips
round the ear either. Food was regulated to times and amounts
but very varied and nutritious even if rationing was on. Aunty
Chips made cakes every week and we were allowed to choose one
sort each ( she baked several all large cakes to be sliced
in portions ). We ate in the garden whenever possible. Uncle Chips
used to take us on long walks by the River Orwell and told us
about the birds and animals around and the flowers. We used to
love it. Laura my sister was sent to school fairly
quickly I believe but us older ones never went to a school until
much later and I dont remember anything about it except
that it was called Nacton Road School. We went to peoples
houses and were taught in front rooms for a while but it was a
bit of a farce. If I remember rightly the schools for older children
were overflowing. We were invited to the Junior school sometimes
for events and we went there in the school breaks to help look
after animals and things and we saw hen eggs hatch out and were
astounded at such a feat I remember. Life went on, Mum and Dad
visited a couple of times. It was a cold winter and our parents
were instructed to send us warm clothing and wellies and we had
knitted pixie hoods, never been so well dressed and no hand me
downs! Christmas came and Auntie Vi came back and her husband
(Uncle Jim) came for the actual holiday days. He brought us a
large box of Terrys All Gold chocolates what a treat
and we were allowed two each day and were allowed to give
the others one each and no more. Auntie said normally we were
to share things but as sweets were rare and we had never had such
a treat before we were to be allowed to keep them for ourselves.
We savoured those chocolates and, of course, they lasted a long
time. We had lots of presents, not in the league of todays
children at Christmas but many more than we were used to, so we
had some on Christmas Day and some on Boxing Day.
We used to be taken to town sometimes. We walked
with Uncle, and Auntie went on the trolleybus. Sometimes we came
back on the trolleybus but sometimes we had to walk. It was quite
a long way but we loved it. The grocery shop Uncle Fred worked
in was a really olde worlde shop in the Buttermarket. They used
to pat the butter into packs and everything was weighed up from
large containers. We were fascinated by it all. And a couple of
times we were taken to the pictures, queue up for an hour then
front row ninepenny seats. We had to crane our necks upwards to
see but it was lovely - Gracie Fields in Singing Sally and Sing
As We Go. We never went to the pictures at home!
I realize now that they were not very well
off but managed what money they had very well and we were included
In May we were told we were to be moved and
had to write a postcard to tell parents, to be posted by the school
just telling them we were moving but not where to. Aunty Chips
telephoned our parents (from the call box across the road
few had their own telephone) and they said they would come and
fetch us. It was a Friday and they picked us up on Saturday morning
(we had to be ready because Dad had to get a taxi from the station
and we went straight back). I remember the journey home
we didnt know whether we wanted to go back or not. Anyway
the rest of those who werent collected by parents were sent
to Wales on the Saturday afternoon. On that Saturday night Ipswich
had its first air raid so someone knew a thing or two. (We did
have a warning siren go off on the day war was declared
third of September and we had to don gas masks and sit
under the table but it was a false alarm).
Really the evacuation as far as we were concerned
was just a long holiday interspersed with lessons which werent
difficult to handle, and new friends and a completely different
environment from that which we had been in before.
We kept in touch with Aunty and Uncle Chips
and they came to our weddings although poor Uncle Chips went blind.
They are all gone now but we shall never forget them.
I moved to Norfolk when I retired, in a country
village, and I realize that the walks with Uncle Chips werent
wasted. Perhaps they were part of the reasons for me moving to
the country from London!
From Frank Mooney:
I transferred to the Torbitt School from Downshall
in 1937 till 1939, did not evacuate so there was no school to
go to for some time. During that time, I did a morning paper round
for the shop next to the Aldborough Stores, some times the air
raids were still on, but I was quite safe with my tin hat on,
and being out early in the morning I was able to collect all the
shrapnel and tail fins from burnt out incendiary bombs etc.
I managed to get a pass to get into Fairlop
Air Field to sell news papers and cigarettes (I was paid nine
shillings a week [45p] for doing the paper round, and half a crown
[12½p] for washing and polishing the shop owners car,
a Morris 8). I used to spend most of the day over there, it was
quite exciting. I was over there during the Battle of Britain,
I used to help to strap the pilots in their Spitfires, but they
stopped me doing that after two of them never came back. I used
to sit on the tail of a spitfire and hang on for dear life whilst
the engine was being run up for a full power test. I got chucked
out one day, three captured German planes landed and a lot of
bigwigs had come from London to inspect them and, as I was inspecting
them, they noticed me and ask me what I was doing there so I showed
them my pass, and as I had sold all my papers, I got my marching
orders, but there was another day.
The Scots Guards where stationed in Abury House
and some new houses that were not occupied in Aldborough Road,
they used to parade and march up and down Aldborough Road, and
have dances and socials in St. Peter's church hall. There were
a few local bomb incidents and the V2 rocket that came down in
front of the Dick Turpin pub that killed Mr.Perkins and I believe
some army officers who were out side at the time talking to him
to arrange a party for that evening.
After a while some evacuees had started to
return, and schools were still closed, so they started morning
and afternoon classes in private houses, but I got expelled from
that for poking my pencil through the table cloth. Then after
a while a school was opened at Gants Hill, I liked it there, there
was thick snow on the ground then and the school was lovely and
warm, isn't it daft how you remember things like that and not
much else. When schools did reopen I went to St Peter and St Pauls
and from Terence Wright: I really started to pay attention when the Dick Turpin was
mentioned. A few of us would hang around outside the place on
Saturdays. The charabancs would start to leave and the accordion
player would play 'Pennies From Heaven' whereupon the ever-so-slightly
intoxicated passengers would throw pennies out the windows. We
would scramble feverishly to get every last one of them. Usually,
afterwards, we would each get a large bottle of Tizer and drink
I believe it was a Saturday morning that the
pub took a near hit from the V2. I was in the bath at the time,
and the strange swishing sound caused me to submerge--quickly!
I sensed something unusual was happening. Even as far away as
Aldborough Road, where we lived, across from the park, the explosion
gave our house, already damaged, a good shaking. Later, when we
got word of the damage to the pub, my mother and aunt were reduced
to tears. You see, Mr. Perkins kept the pub open, along with the
piano player, even if there was no beer. Also, he let the RAF
personnel run up a tab. Sometimes they never got back to pay.
here's a memory from someone who actually saw the Dick Turpin
blown up by a V2 rocket in November 1944.
My mother was with my sister and brother outside
Thompsons talking to a lady who was with her sons, one in a pram.
One of the boys, looking idly up Aldborough Road towards St Peters,
suddenly shouted out "what's that", or something to
that effect. What he had seen, and what I saw for the first time
in my life, was a vapour trail, and it was coming across the sky
in an arc from right to left, from the direction of Hainault towards
Newbury Park, quite fast, and then suddenly curving sharply downwards.
My mother grabbed me and my brother and our heads were thrust
into the pram for 'protection' ... whoooooooffffff .... a tremendous
shock blast came right down Aldborough Road and rocked us and
we looked up to see an enormous dust plume climbing into the sky
from beyond the Church. It was a V2 (flying supersonically and
silently in the upper/lower atmosphere) and it landed in front
of the Dick Turpin blowing the entire front and roof off. They
subsequently changed the shape of the roof and front when it was
re-built. At that time I seem to remember that it had multiple
tall brick chimneys, although I haven't ever seen a picture of
the pub as it used to be.
Roy Perkins the publican was killed, as was an airman cycling
past the Dick Turpin on his way back to the Airfield. My sister,
to this day, remembers seeing the airman cycle past Thompsons
while we were standing there talking. [The Roy Perkins who was
killed was the father of the Roy Perkins who was later to became
'mine host' at the Dick Turpin]
The tunnels between Newbury Park
and Gants Hill (now for the Underground) were not opened until
several years after the Second World War - they were used as a
munitions factory and/or by Plessey's. A couple of "Torbitt
Mums" worked down there.
.....used to stand at the
top of the footpath next to St Peter's church and watch the fighters
landing and taking off in the distance. Fairlop finished up as
a Balloon Base, manned by WAAFs, and some 19 V1 bombs were brought
down by their battery of balloons.
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