DOWN MEMORY LANE All alone – and then the phone broke...

REGULAR contributor Doreen Sparkes of Ashburnham Close, Chichester, recalls an amusing episode during the war.

She writes: I was enlisted for part-time work in the Chichester fire service. Having been trained as a telephonist, my duties were occasionally working in the evenings and during the night.

At that time the fire station was in Market Avenue behind what was once the Cattle Market and is now a car park. On the other side of the road were the men’s sleeping quarters and the dining hall, which is now also a car park. The women slept in the fire station.

One evening my colleagues had gone to supper and I was the only one left in the fire station. Bognor sub-station was calling on the phone – they wanted to take their fire engine out on manoeuvres.

At that point I dropped the one and only phone – and it shattered into pieces.

I couldn’t call for help and I couldn’t leave the station. It meant crawling on my hands and knees to pick up all the parts and then to work out how to re-assemble them – and as I wasn’t mechanically minded, I found it challenging.

I managed after a struggle and got back on to Bognor sub-station to be told it was so late they wouldn’t be going on manoeuvres after all. And when my colleagues returned from supper and I told them what had happened, I was told: “Oh, that’s always happening...”