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NLHG Newsletter Editor

John Cheshire

NLHG Newsletter




0642 Roger at Church farm


2013 2014 2015 2016

Excellent talks :  In September Daryl Holter gave us a fascinating insight into his job as Heritage Crime Officer at Sussex Police. He showed some distressing photos of vandalism that takes place against local churches and heritage sites but these were counterbalanced by more light hearted anecdotes about detectorists and buried “treasure”. Great to hear about his work with school children too, hopefully this outreach will reduce the damage and destruction going forward. Also, in October Brigadier Huw Willing described the colourful and adventurous life of Fred Burnaby a military intelligence officer, publisher and balloonist! We heard about his campaigns on around eastern Europe and Asian Russia. Truly the bravest man in England!


Forthcoming Meetings: 7.30 in the Methodist Hall unless stated otherwise


November 21st                          A Snapshot of Hooe from the Parish Registers by Peter Hayward

December                                  No meeting

January 16th                             Ninfield of the Past –the Cyril Wells Pictures by John Cheshire

February 20th                           Jack and Jill by Paul Barber

March 19th                                Ropemakers and Railways by Paul Endersby

April 16th                                  AGMThe History of the Brede Giants by Barbara Atkinson


Visit us in the Sparke Pavilion every Monday morning 10 to 12

If you have difficulty getting to meetings on dark nights or could offer a lift to a fellow member please let us know and we can hopefully put people in touch.


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Coffee & Mince Pies: Join us in the Pavilion on Monday 16th December 10.30 to 12 for our last archive session of 2019. There will be a slide show with tea, coffee and festive nibbles. The Resource Centre will resume on Monday 6th January 2020.


Memories of World War 2 in Ninfield

Back in 2013 following the successful Heritage Lottery Fund grant, we gathered oral histories from a number of Ninfield residents. Some of the more senior people spent time in the village during the war. Because it is now 80 years since the war broke out I thought we should remember this dreadful event. Here are some quotes from recordings we made.

Vernon Cornford – “Canadian soldiers used the Memorial Hall (or Drill Hall as it was called then) as a base for their activities. There were large Nissen huts beside the hall which included a cook house. I was at Miss Leat’s School next door so I often went to see the troops at lunch time. They would usually give me a lovely slice of roast meat as a treat”.

Esme Goldsmith – “There were air raid shelters built for the school and these were used a lot because of the German planes flying overhead on a daily basis. Before the shelters were built we had to hide under our desks in the classroom. Canadian soldiers were billeted in lots of the houses along Manchester Road. Several local girls married Canadians and went to live in Canada after the war. I can remember the searchlights stationed at the end of Church Lane. The soldiers were very friendly and used to show us children how the lights worked”.

Renee Hewson – “I was 18 when war started and we weren’t frightened at that time because we didn’t know what would be involved. If we were out when the Doodlebugs came over we would use the tank traps as shelter. I had a Land Girl billeted with me who kept me company because my husband was away working on engineering projects in Wales and then in Rye”.

Margaret Ambrose – “We had an air raid shelter in the sitting room, the main concern was flying glass. There were several shelters at the school and we had to use these most days. We did singing, poems and mental arithmetic in the shelters. A Doodlebug came down near Church Wood, we got cracks in our ceiling because of that. Mrs Cramp next door (Standard Hill Cottages) had a big gun installed by the military. It was upstairs in her house and the floor had to be reinforced. This was because we had a clear view down to the sea at Normans Bay”.

Margaret Broughton – “We were self-sufficient so not too bothered by rationing. There were gardens and allotments and we grew fruit, vegetables and kept rabbits and chickens. One thing I will never forget was being collected from school by my Dad when an air raid started. A German plane flew up the Green, straffing us with bullets. My father pushed me into a hedge and I can still feel the Holly prickles! We used to visit the soldiers at the various stations in the village (Moor Hall, Ingrams Farm) and they were always really nice to us kids. I can remember several tanks being marshalled in the village before they all headed down to the coast via Hooe”.

Marlene Spandley – “Most families had air raid shelters in the garden which had beds inside. These got used an awful lot and I can remember being woken in the night and being carried to the shelter. We saw planes that had been hit crossing the sky in flames several times”.

May Jackson – “I spent 6 months as a Military Police Officer (a volunteer at first). Women were not called up until the age of 20. When I enlisted I had 6 weeks training at Aldershot and was posted to the RASC working at Ore Place. We girls were billeted in the big houses along the Ridge. The highlight of our week was the dance at the Olympic Ballroom (above the Dodgems in Hastings). I met a lovely Canadian soldier there and decades later we met up again to continue where we left off”.


If you have any recollections or stories about life in wartime Ninfield please get in touch.


Group Contacts:

John Cheshire (Chair/Newsletter)   Tel: 892248, Rod Ffoulkes  Tel: 893635, Anthony Gibbons (Treasurer) Tel: 892612 , Jackie Cheshire (Secretary) Tel: 01323 833897   Corinne Gibbons (Membership)  Tel: 892612, Jan Cooper (Archivist)   Tel: 893381, Janet Savage  Tel: 892749, , Jane Dommersen Tel 892428 , Steve Allen, Lynn Hills        



Please note that from April 2017

the NLHG Newsletter will be published

                                         Bi Monthly


November 2019

2018 2019