Nostalgia: Petworth man’s memories of bombing

Pupils of Easebourne Primary School, photographed some time after the war
Pupils of Easebourne Primary School, photographed some time after the war

A PETWORTH man has spoken of his memory of the time German bombs landed on Midhurst in the second world war.

Christopher Till, from Hampers Green, told how his father, Les, used to drive the dust cart for Midhurst
Town Council and how one day his normal route was interrupted by a German bomber.

At the time, Mr Till was at his home in Easebourne with his mother.

He said he could remember the tremendous noise of the falling bombs and his mother’s concern.

“We were looking out the window towards Midhurst,” he said. “I can remember there was a hell of a bang.”

“Mum said: ‘Oh dear. Dad’s on the town round today’. She was worried for his safety.”

Mr Till’s father was safe and sound – however, he had a close call.

His son recalled: “Dad was driving down Petersfield Road into Midhurst when he heard the loader on the back shout.

“Dad asked why he was shouting and he said: ‘They are chucking bottles at us’.

Mr Till said the loader on the back of the dust cart had mistaken the objects falling from the plane as bottles, when in actual fact they were bombs.

He said: “My father looked up and it was a German bomber dropping bombs.

“The chapel on the end of the road in Midhurst got a direct hit, killing the priest.”

He recalled after the hit by the German bomb, it became disused: “I can remember it was a derelict building afterwards.”

Mr Till also added the German plane dropped a bomb in Sheep Lane, which killed three people who had just moved to the area from London.

He said they had moved down from the capital to get away from the bombs.

At the time Mr Till estimated he was about eight years old and was one of barely a handful of students who attended Easebourne Primary School during the early 1940s.

He also recalled the Battle of Britain and said he remembered a 
‘beautiful sunny day’ when planes were fighting overhead.

“I was standing there looking up at the sky,” he said. “It was a bit crazy really because there was bullets and shrapnel falling down all around.”

Mr Till can still remember all the vapour trails and the spitfires overhead.