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WW2 Evacuation From Bexhill

posted by Harold Saunders on 01 Sept 2009 at 9:41 pm

Being able to remember the commencement of WW2 I wonder if has anyone else has memories of evacuation from Bexhill or indeed evacuation to Bexhill?

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WW2 Evacuation

posted by Eve Kiff on 03 Sept 2009 at 8:19 pm

I found myself in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, at the age of four. I had been living in London but was born in Bexhill. Whilst in Minchinhampton, I met two boys, Raymond and Geoffrey Pollard. When I returned to Bexhill at the age of six, and went to St. Peter's School, which was in Barrack Road, I met Raymond and Geoffrey again.

WW2 Evacuation

posted by Harold Saunders on 25 Sept 2009 at 7:52 pm

Greetings Eve,
From the lack of response it seems as if we were the only two evacuees from Bexhill!
I too attended St Peters School, handy as I lived in Barrack Road at the time.


posted by Susan Stone on 17 Nov 2009 at 10:43 pm

Hi guys, I read with interest your notes regarding being evacuated from Bexhill. I understand my Mother, Joan Margaret Thomas (dob:19/02/1930) was evacuated to St Albans, I think!. She lived at Hillside Road, anyone know any more about this?


posted by Jude on 20 Nov 2009 at 6:09 pm

My uncle was evacuated to Bexhill with the Roan School early in September 1939. He didn't stay very long as the school was sent on to Wales when it became just as dangerous here as it was in Blackheath.

He emigrated to Australia in the early 60s and when he visited me in 2000 he was very curious to see how Bexhill had changed. He could remember burying a tin of corned beef(!?) at the beach at Cooden but found the beach unrecognisable.

I have tried to find records on where he was billeted etc but have had no luck.

Dancing Girl

posted by Margaret M lewis on 01 Dec 2009 at 11:28 pm

I was evacuated from Bexhill to Letchworth
in Hertfordshire,my cousinsthe and my Brother bob we went to Saint Mary Magdalens
School and we lived in Sackville Road would like to know if any body out there remembers


posted by mary wrotchford on 18 Dec 2009 at 11:04 am

I was evacuated to Wellington in Somerset from Bexhill. Then there were bombs dropped there, so we came back and stayed with my grand parents in Robertsbridge. I too went to St Peters School, in Barrack Road, and then to Downs County School when it first opened. My name then was Mary Hook, and I lived in Wrestwood Road.

WW2 Evacuations

posted by Eve Kiff on 18 Feb 2010 at 11:54 pm

Hi, Harold - haven't been back to this site since Sept. Wondered if you remembered Geoff and Ray Pollard. I eventually ended up living in Barrack Road in one of the ex-police houses until 1997. I was hoping others from Bexhill had been evacuated to Minchinhampton.

WW2 Evacuation

posted by charles kaye on 27 Mar 2010 at 3:00 pm

Interested to read of others' experiences. I was evacuated as a baby with my mother from Bexhill to Cheltenham in 1940/41 but I can't find any records at either end! Schools pupils were noted but not babies apparently. Has anyone any luck in tracing evacuation movements from Bexhill?

WW2 Evacuation

posted by Rachel on 23 Jun 2010 at 3:39 pm

Hello. I'm posting on behalf of my mother, who was called Kathleen Kennedy, and her brother James. They lived in Buxton Drive and attended Downs primary school. They were both evacuated to Letchworth in 1939/40. She remembers arriving at Letchworth train station and standing with all the oether children on a 'large green area', which I believe could be what is now called Broadway Gardens (I ended up living in Letchworth). Mum thinks she stayed at Letchworth corner post office.

Bexhill To Beaconsfield

posted by Carole Thornton-Firkin on 24 Jun 2010 at 2:41 pm

I went to Ancaster Gate School from age 5 in 1940. We were only there a short time when we were evacuated to Beaconsfield. From there to Winwick Manor and from there to another place getting further north and deeper into the countryside. I left in 1945. Can't remember any of the names of other pupils there, but remember Miss Mumford and Miss Huxley the joint headmistresses. Very strict, lots of canings etc!!

Evacuees From Seafield School

posted by Beverley Coghlan on 10 Sept 2010 at 8:57 am

My husband Terence Coghlan and the entire staff and pupils of Seafield School were evacuated to Two Bridges Hotel, on Dartmoor for the duration of the war.In the hotel you can still photos of this time and a sign over the bar refers to the fact that no boys were allowed beyond that point. My husband's uncle and father (Granville Boyle Coghlan - see notes on Wikipedia) owned Seafield. After the war they returned to the school which had been used by Canadian/American command. Sadly my husband died last year but he had many amazing stories of that time on Dartmoor and we revised Dartmoor and the hotel several times on returning from South Africa to live permanently in the UK.

My Great Grandparents Hosted 2 Evacuees

posted by Kathy Peck on 18 Oct 2010 at 11:18 am

My Gran (now 91) can remember 2 evacuee children living with them in Sackville Road. My Gran used to work in Annie Sextons bookshop and trained as an ARP Warden. She said her dad (a stonemason) got them into Mary Magdelens school - I wonder if Margaret M Lewis (post dated 1 Dec 2009) and her brother were those children? Please get in touch if it was you!

Bexhill And Letchworth

posted by Ian Griffiths on 21 Oct 2010 at 8:40 pm

I was born in Letchworth in 1942, Mother and Father married and moved into 31 Archers Way when new in 1935 and took in evacuees before I was born - one was a young jewish girl. I went to Letchworth Grammar School 1953-58.
Later I worked/lived in Bexhill 1972-1979 and when I retired, returned to Bexhill where we now live.
It is only recently that I discovered that children from Bexhill were evacuated to my home town and that some actually attended 'my' Grammer School. Its a very small world!

WW2 Evacuation

posted by Andy Hicks on 12 Nov 2010 at 8:53 pm

My father Gordon Hicks b.9-8-28 was evacuated from Bexhill to Letchworth. He now lives in London Road, but at the time lived in Bowrey Place. He has a lot of memories, not least the journey home on his own. He hated it so much he saved his pennies and made his way home on his own without even telling his mother! He turned up at Bowrey Place completely unannounced when everyone thought he was in Letchworth.

Two Old Bags!!

posted by Suse heygate on 20 Mar 2011 at 2:06 am

I cannot believe someone else way before me, experienced these awful old bags at ancaster gate school in bexhill on sea , the 2 headmistresses at the time of my incasaration were also miss Huxley and miss Mumford , 1967 , before it was shut down for reasons one can only guess at!! I remember being caned and forced to eat revolting food, without being allowed water to wash it down. Modern day Social services would have had a field day, I felt then as I do now that I was trapped in a Dickens novel.

Similar Memories

posted by Joanna Higgins on 19 Jun 2012 at 9:02 pm

I too went to Ancaster Gate in the 60s though slightly later than Suse Heygate and share similar memories of a very bizarre establishment which seemed stuck in some historical time warp. Even when we were there I recall we all thought the outside world would have been amazed at what then apparently passed as acceptable!


posted by janet taylor on 30 Jun 2012 at 8:05 pm

My mother named Dorothy May Taylor met Thomas Gorton Hemmings in Bexhill, I was born in 1943 so I wondered if anyone knew of them it would have been around 1941 she used to work in London and I was born in St.Albans,

Free French Forces In Bexhill

posted by Rodney Earl on 13 Jan 2013 at 10:54 pm

Has anybody any information on Free French Forces billeted in the Sidley area of Bexhill, or anyone who might know where any records may be kept?

Follow Ups On Thornton-Firkin & Heygate

posted by Jane Cooper on 22 Jul 2013 at 8:19 pm

I was sent to Ancaster Gate in Bexhill in 1940. Then we were evacuated to Penbury Grove, then Winwick Manor, and I think after that, somewhere else. After Bexhill, we shared the buildings with other small schools, in the country to keep away from bombs, etc. No, no canings, but I spent time standing outside an office, and was spanked on the bottom with a gym shoe. Apart from Hucky and Mumfy, does anyone remember Miss Veale, our matron, with long red hair which was braided and wound around her head. I remember sitting in a bath tub with another girl, washing ourselves. Does anyone remember marvellous mythology classes given by Miss Huxley, climbing ropes in the gym, writing home to family on Sun. mornings, younger children sitting on chamber pots in a bathroom, lining up in the dormitory to have one's hair brushed, hearing planes overhead at night and being afraid. Memories play tricks, but this is some of what I remember.

More Memories ?1940-?1946

posted by Jane Cooper on 28 Jul 2013 at 7:45 pm

More about Ancaster Gate Bexhill. I also remember a chamber music concert to which we were taken in Bexhill, where we heard Yehudi Menuhin and sister (violin and piano) play. Also, at the end of the war, we returned to Bexhill, and I remember walking through a ?pea field in a group down to the beach. In a row we held hands and paddled in the water a bit. My memory (above from Jul.22) about chamber pots was after Ancaster Gate was evacuated I think)

Ancaster Gate In The 60s

posted by fiona lever on 23 Aug 2013 at 1:11 pm

I was at Ancaster from 1960 - 64. Remember Hucky and Mucky but don't remember any canings or anyone getting caned! I remember getting dressed up in velvet dresses and going into the study for stories. One of our matrons then was Woody - I believe she had a wooden leg? Also remember Miss Peel who did netball and Miss Baker with her pekinese! Lots more memories really made me think about then. Overall I had a happy time there.

Ancaster Gate

posted by Jane Cooper on 08 Mar 2015 at 9:23 pm

More on Ancaster Gate: In an unused cupboard I found a small old silver trophy cup, engraved "Ancaster Gate Intermediate Sports 1945 J. Cooper" So perhaps I was not imagining I was returned to Bexhill after the war..

Evacuation, Circa1940

posted by Christopher Catt on 18 Mar 2015 at 10:08 am

My sister Joy and I were evacuated together from Bexhill to Letchworth. I was 4 years old and my sister was 10, and she had attended Downs Primary school, we then lived in Bancroft Road, and now both live in Adelaide, South Australia. Later in the war, having returned to Bexhill when things cooled down, we were again evacuated separately this time, to Rogerstone, Wales.

Ancaster Gate Jane Cooper

posted by Alistair Gow on 18 Mar 2015 at 8:31 pm

Coincidentally, just piecing some history together with old photos for my mum..after some digging she says she remembers evacuation after a term at Ancaster Gate in 1940 (May) to Penbury Grove, same as yourself! She was moved a lot though and never returned to Bexhill, going to Edinburgh soon afterwards!

More Information

posted by Christopher Catt on 04 Apr 2015 at 7:36 am

Further to my post of 18th March 2015, I have gleaned some more information from my sister Joy.She advises that we were accompanied on the train to Letchworth by the Head Master of the Downs School, Mr Hyde, and a teacher Miss Duffy. Joy and I were fostered by Mr and Mrs Sax who lived in High Street, Letchworth.

School Days. 1930s And 40s

posted by Peter Ball on 04 Apr 2015 at 3:14 pm

Chris Catt's contributions have triggered a number of memories. My family also lived in Bancroft Road, no 23. The builders, RA Larkins, developed houses and bungalows in Bancroft Road and Newlands Avenue supervised by Chris's father.
Together with my sister June I attended Downs School. Teachers included the HM, Johny Hyde, Deputy HM Mr Cross, Miss Duffy, Miss Shaw, Miss Message, Mr Burbridge and Mr Jones. I "passed the scholarship" in 1937 and went to The County School in Turkey Road.
In September 1939 Roan School was evacuated to Bexhill and shared the school. We went in the mornings and in the afternoons to the Congregational Church Hall in London Road or the playing fields.
After Dunkirk Roan disappeared to Wales and we were sent to St Albans,the County Girls to Letchworth.
Earlier,from 1934 to 1936 I sang in the choir of St Michaels in Hastings Road. Matins was attended by the girls from local boarding schools, among them Charters Towers, in brown and gold uniforms and Ancaster House in green.
I remember much more which may be of interest but will await any responses to the above.

More Info.

posted by Chris Catt on 13 Apr 2015 at 4:07 am

Thank you Peter for the additional information. Sister Joy thinks she knew your sister June. Any additional recollections which you have would be of interest to us.

More Information

posted by Chris Catt on 21 Apr 2015 at 1:50 am

Peter Ball's contribution was of great interest to my sister and I. We would love to receive any more information regarding the war years in Bexhill, and the evacuation.

Bexhill To Letchworth Ww2

posted by Brenda White nee Richardson on 29 Jan 2016 at 1:34 pm

I was evacuated to Letchworth in 1942 with the Bexhill County School for Girls (the boys went to St Albans). We only stayed for 1 term, being brought back to Bexhill just in time for the flying bombs. I was billeted in South View in Letchworth with some lovely people who treated me as one of their own. Would be great to hear from other pupils who were there at the same time. I lived in Hailsham and now live in Scotland.

Hello Eve

posted by Philip Barrie on 14 Dec 2016 at 12:21 pm

Eve did you emigrate to Australia? I have lost your address, but my e mail address is on here for you

Dennis Beckwith

posted by Annette Duck on 15 Dec 2016 at 7:23 am

My Dad Dennis Beckwith, who lived in Claremont Road Sidley, was evacuated from Bexhill to Letchworth when he was about 8 years old. He attended Sidley Primary School ans The Downs. He remembers going on the train with his teacher who may have been Miss Duffy previously mentioned. He did not enjoy his evacuation years and remembers being moved on from one family to another. Sadly, I only found this site when writing his eulogy for his funeral recently, otherwise he would have loved to have known of its existence and read the comments.

My Mom - Evacuee

posted by CINDY ROSS on 17 Jun 2017 at 12:50 pm

My mother, born and raised in Bexhill, just passed away at 93, here in the States. She was evacuated to Yeovil from Bexhill.

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