DOWN MEMORY LANE: Happy years spent in North Mundham as evacuee

The bungalow where Ernie lived with Mr and Mrs Messingham
The bungalow where Ernie lived with Mr and Mrs Messingham

ANN Dorman, of Banbury, wrote to us after a holiday in Bognor Regis led to memories of life as an evacuee in North Mundham:

While holidaying in Bognor Regis recently, we visited North Mundham where my husband Ernie, was evacuated from 11 to 14 years old.

He lived with Mr and Mrs Messingham and their sons in the boarded-up bungalow, pictured.

The lake was fields where the boys played.

One night he watched from the bungalow as a British plane crashed into a tree, ammunition exploding.

Another time, a lady pulled him into a ditch as a German plane flew by, chased by a British fighter.

He saw the pilot.

He witnessed some of the the Battle of Britain above him in the skies.

He loved the countryside and stayed even though three brothers went back to Wimbledon, homesick.

School days

The Messinghams were very good to him.

They ate a lot of stuffed rabbit.

Mr Messingham trapped and skinned moles to sell the fur to the government to line pilots’ jackets.

My husband used to spend time with the ploughman and ride his shire horse back to the stables. He remembers the man’s lunch of hunks of bread and cheese and an apple.

He loved the school. One day, after the teacher had said ‘little things please little minds’, he yelled out ‘and little trousers fit little behinds’. He got away with it.

Does anyone know the dark-haired girl he sent a note to across the classroom, saying, ‘I love you’, and receiving back, ‘I love you, too’?

In the playground, the sexes were firmly separated.

When he left, the headmistress said ‘whatever you do, take up art’. He was an art teacher for 36 years, and has sold paintings.

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