My Early Years In Bramford

A Memory of Bramford

My family moved to Bramford in 1935 when I was 5 years old when my father became the Station Master there, and we lived in the station house which is still there. My mum and Dad had two boys and two girls, although after a year my brother Ernest was away in the army [7th HUSSARS]. I have many happy memeries there.
Across the road was the Station Garage where my best friend Bertie lived, Mr Francisco Smith was the garage owner and a First World War army veteran. He was a great guy, and used to take us lads out on trips in his 1938 Hillman to Ipswich to the cinema, Felixstowe and all around. Sadly, and ironicaly, he was the only one to be killed in Bramford, I believe, and as the Air Raid Warden, when a German bomb fell close to the garage during an air raid in 1943. Bertie and I attended the junior school which was situated
just beyond the village church on the left hand side. In 1939 there was a great flood when the River Gipping burst its locks and we had to live upstairs for about a week, supplied with food by our friend Mr Smith who I think was the only person in the village with a boat. I remember there was a great roaring sound on the first day of the flood and the river bridge which divided the village was swept away. Fortunately, the last farm cart transporting the children from the two schools when this occured had just gone over the bridge, what a blessing. A few weeks later the army Engineers came and put up a bailey bridge which was suposed to be a temporary one but due to the war was there for years. When the water from this flood finaly subsided it left a terrible thick layer of mud all over the ground floor of the house, I remember, it never seemed the same again.
On the road to Ipswich at that time.,Sir Percy Loraine lived in a large house I remember, he had been a former Viceroy of India I believe, and his sister was very active in the village running the Girl Guides movement of which my elder sister Jean was a member. Lady Loraine was also invoved in the Civil Defence Corps.
In early 1939 we moved from Bramford to Loughton in Essex where my father was upgraded to take over a brand new Station there, but of course I will never forget the happy times I had there.

A memory shared by Dennis Barnes , on Apr 7th, 2010.

Comments & feedback

Wed Nov 12th 2014, at 4:12 pm

Ernest. J. Sharman commented:

Hello Dennis, I have only just seen your letter,but it was really amazing as I too lived at the Garage with Bertie whose surname was Catchpole.Iwent to school in Bramford as well,it appears I was living there as Francisco's foster child, I was collected in 1940 to live in a mansion and as I was reluctant to leave Bramford,indeed I ran away and hid away in a hide on the railway embankment for hours,so the only way I would go they had to let Bertie come with me for a week! I well remember swimming in the river and had a great time, but not so good when I left. Another strange thing is that I met my wife when she lived at Boulge and when we talked about our youth she had also been to Bramford School, Strange World!!

Wed Feb 4th 2015, at 8:14 pm

gingerdawnharman commented:

Dennis, Have you ever read these books on Amazon. They are very similar to your town and I believe the author was in your town during WW2 as a child living with his aunt but he writes under a pen name.

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