The War Years

A Memory of Aveley

I was born in Aveley in 1933, in the local police station, opposite the Ordance Arms. I attended the local schools (infants, junior and bushy bit). In these 16 years much happened to the village from being a peaceful place, when the Belhouse Park was turned into a transit camp for D-day and all the side roads were turned into parking areas for lorries, guns and tanks, American, Canadians, Polish, French troops with a lot of prisoner of war who were working in the camps.
Aveley had its own D-day when information to the local vicar was misunderstood and the church bells were rung to warn the locals that it was possible that the Germans would react to the invasion, therefore to go down the shelters. This caused confusion to the troops, thinking that they were on their way to France. This had to be sorted out by my father and Mr Stanton (the vicar). This made the nationial news. I have a copy of this in THE HERALD.
We had several bombs land in Aveley, one in Purfleet Road, a flying bomb at the bottom of Purfleet Road where a young girl was killed, and a land mine at the end of Ship Lane, as well as unexloded shells and bombs.
D-day saw the end of all the troops from the side roads and recreation ground. Belhouse was used as a H/Q, it was left in a bit of a mess. Nissen huts were everywhere, side roads were churned up with tanks' tracks the place was changing very fast. We had our celebration bonfire at the bottom of Grange Road. I left school and went to work in London.
I did my National Service in Germany and came back to Aveley. By this time a new town had been built in the outskirts of Aveley which was filled with people who were not used to the ways of village life, so changes took place. And I read other people's memories of Aveley but most of these would be during these changes.
I was married in Surrey, came back to Benfleet and I must confess that I have not been back to see Aveley since my father died in Purfleet Road. I have only just discovered this website and imagine my supprise when looking at the photograph of Aveley high street, parked in the road on the left-hand side of the road was my first car, a 3.4 Jaguar called a SS. I owned this car for 2 years, changing it for one that would stop when you wanted not when it felt like it!
My father kept many records of this period and these are now in the museum in Grays, Essex.
Thanks for your interest,
K Dunn.

                                                                                                                       

A memory shared by First Name Last Name , on Feb 4th, 2009.

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