Chandler's Ford History

"If my memory serves me correctly ......." Welcome to our Chandler's Ford Local History Blog. Our aim is to collect and record memories of Chandler's Ford, in Hampshire, and make them available to all. We shall also share old reports, maps and photographs where there is no copyright problem. Do help us by adding your photos and memories. Even if you can't quite remember what happened, write your version of events and encourage others to add theirs. Look forward to hearing from you. Chris

Friday, May 19, 2006

Researching CFord History

If you are interested in joining us to research Chandler's Ford history then come along to our workshops held in Chandler's Ford library once a month. No experience needed. The dates for 2006 are Tuesday 13th June, 11th July, 8 August, 12th September, 10th October, 14th November 10am-12md. All welcome

3 Comments:

Blogger peter said...

PERSONAL MEMORIES OF VE AND VJ DAYS AND AFTER WORLD WAR II


On Tuesday 8 May 1945 (VE Day) the war in Europe ended officially, and there was much joy and celebration. Church bells rang out to end their enforced wartime silence; if rung during the war they would have signalled a German invasion! On 7 May I was in lessons at Kings Road School, when we heard the exciting news from our class teacher that the war was over, and that the next day would be a school holiday. In fact for everybody VE Day was a public holiday, and in the afternoon and evening there were street parties with bonfires and much merrymaking which went on well into the night, and some parties were still going strong the next day.

The war in the Far East against Japan came to an end 3 months later, during the school summer holidays. The exact day was VJ Day, 15 August 1945, after the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was another public holiday with more street parties. This time there was not quite the sense of utter relief and joy that VE Day had brought, as the war with Japan had been far away and had not threatened life in Chandler’s Ford as had war with Germany. I was only 10 and I was over-awed by the radio and newspaper reports that the new weapons used against Japan were more horrific and much more powerful than anything used previously in the 1939-1945 conflict. Fortunately, nuclear weapons have never been used since in war by any of the dozen or so countries which have to date developed their own, and such weapons have so far been a major deterrent against further global conflicts like the Second World War.

Gradually peacetime life in Chandler’s Ford returned to normal, although it would be many years before all wartime rationing of food, sweets, clothes and household goods finally ended (in 1954). At first there were shortages also of coal, gas and electricity, and the winter of 1947 was one of the longest and coldest of the 20th century, with very deep snow for several weeks. However, very quickly after VE day, the gas lights in the village streets were repaired and lit again at night for the first time since 1939. Local roads and pavements, which had been badly damaged by American and Canadian tanks and other military vehicles awaiting embarkation from the South Coast to take part in the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France in 1944, were now quickly restored to good condition. Gradually local servicemen began returning to their families and civilian life. Long-missed goodies such as bananas and ice cream reappeared, although in small quantities at first, and queues quickly formed when news spread of the arrival in the village of these treats. There were still very few cars on the roads as they were expensive to buy and maintain, and fuel was strictly rationed, but public transport by bus and train was reliable, frequent and widely used, both for local and long journeys. The local bus company desperately needed more vehicles to meet the high demand for bus travel, and this was met by using some ancient red London buses with outside, open stairs to reach the top deck.

Like other German (and Italian) prisoners-of-war in Britain, those prisoners who had been housed in two large, closely-guarded camps in Chandler’s Ford after their surrender, did not immediately return to their country after the war ended. They had to help local farmers with tending the livestock and crops, or do other work, such as in forestry and cleaning out rivers, which had been neglected during the war while British workmen had been away serving in the armed forces. It would be several years before most of the prisoners of war were sent back to Germany from Chandler’s Ford, but a few got married to local girls and settled here.

Chandler’s Ford was also home for the duration of the war for many evacuees from Southampton (about 5 miles away), whose homes had been destroyed by the intensive German aerial bombing of the port there in the early years of the war. There were also refugees from Poland and other Eastern European countries, who had fled to Britain either at the start of the war, or later in the war as the Soviet Red Army advanced through their countries towards Germany. All the evacuees and refugees lived in what were described at the time as temporary, pre-fabricated dwellings (but known locally as ‘the hutments’), in two areas of Chandler’s Ford. However, because of shortages of building materials, it would be many years before sufficient permanent housing was built to replace that destroyed by the German air force (the Luftwaffe), but eventually even the ‘hutments’ themselves were replaced by traditional houses.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Many thanks, Peter. It's great that you're adding your memories. I'll try to put your entries into a WW2 section, but I'm new to blogging so it may take me a while! Best wishes, Chris

8:26 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I've managed to do it, but not to index it properly. To find it you need to type "WW2" in "Search this blog" (top left).

9:05 PM  

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