The War Years

A Memory of Binstead

I was born in Ryde in 1938 and when war broke out, my mother and myself moved in with my grandparents, Laurence and Lucy Stroud (nee Meecham) into what is now Wellwood Grange but in those days was just Wellwood. It was the home of the Tattenhall family and my grandfather had been their butler, so when they nipped off to Algiers for safety (!) we had the empty house all to ourselves. It was like something out of the Munsters, huge, dark and frightening to a kid, every shadow cast by the gas light of candle was a monster.

In addtion, the house was like a cross between the Royal Armoury and the Natural History museum. The walls were covered in things which killed people, guns, knives, swords and many other implements which I won't describe! Every flat surface had on it a stuffed bird or small animal in glass cases, it's a wonder that flora and fauna on the Island were not wiped out!

The land on which the houses in Quarr Lane are built was all part of the Wellwood estate so you can imagine what fun it was growing up in that enviroment, even though the odd cannon shell would come through the roof, or them odd German pilot would parachute to earth in the Black Watch camp, never to be seen again, allegedly!!

In 1944, we also had the Yanks billeted next door on Quarr Hill and they were great. We invited them to tea on the lawn and they provided me with Hershey bars and Mum with nylons, we were in heaven! We woke up one day and they were all gone and now we know where they went, bless 'em!

My granddad used to take me to Binstead Beach to find the entrance to three tunnels which in those days led from the beach to the churchyard, although they were bricked up halfway. He told me that two had led into tombs in the graveyard and the third came up under the altar so hat the vicar could get his share of the spoils! The entrances to the tunnels are gone now but I am surprised that any budding archeaologists have not explored the legend from the church end. To me, the prescence of the 'Smuggler's Grave' in the cemetery at Leasy lends some credence to the story.

Finally, the mention of Binstead School brings back memories of sitting under the huge tree in the courtyard and having our summer lessons, last time I looked the tre was still there.

I stayed close to Binstead after the war, my dad George was a delivery driver for the Coopers bakery at the end of Cemetery Road, my maternal grandfather George Squibb lived at No.1 Cemetery Road and as a teenager I delievered newspapers around Binstead and the local area for Fred Golding. Oh, happy days, where did they go?!

A memory shared by John Stroud , on Dec 27th, 2010.

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