My earliest memories of Broadstone stem from about 1937 when I was five years old. We lived in Southbourne at the time and frequently went to Broadstone at weekends to visit my "aunt Flo" and her family who lived at Lower Blandford Road. She was my mother's sister and their children Roy and Rex Cannings were about my age(Roy and I were born six days apart and Rex was a bit younger), also my Dad's brother Uncle Archie and his wife were the gardner and housekeeper respectively at a beautiful house called "The Cobbles" at Gravel Hill. I well remember the journey via Arrowsmith Road and Dunyeats Road when, at the right time of year, the whole area was a mass of rhodadendrons in bloom, and how my mother admired them. To me, living in urban Bournemouth, it meant a chance of being in a delightful rural atmosphere. I loved "going up the village" where my Uncle Charlie worked for Mr Watkins at the grocery shop in the Broadway, and watching the trains at what was then a very busy junction station.
Then of course the war came upon us and the motor cars were put away "for the duration", but we still managed to get to Broadstone. It meant three different buses from where we lived and I well recall asking for the "Old barn" stop when the conductor asked for the destination on leaving Poole. Uncle Charlie was called up for military service and our Grandma, 'Nan' White, who was a widow went to live with them and she used to take the three of us for days out. I remember in particular our visits to Salisbury by train from Broadstone (we had a number of relatives around the Salisbury area), it seemed to us a very long journey. Another thing that comes to mind about that period of time were the air-raids, especially the night raids on Poole, at that time there was an almost panoramic view of the town and harbour from my aunt's back windows and I vividly remember watching the searchlights and the flashes of gunfire, the ghostly sight of the barrage balloons illuminated by the flashes of bursting bombs and the fires that had started. The noise was terrific and the whole world seemed to tremble when a bomb exploded nearer to Broadstone! The old town of Poole certainly took a 'hammering' in the early stages of the war.
Around 1948 the local boys formed a cycle speedway team with a track on the heath in which I was included called 'Broadstone Bulldogs'. Names from which I remember were: Gordon Barter, Gordon Ridout, Brian Hanham,John and Ronnie Elkins, 'Brocko'(?) Bartlett and my cousins Roy and Rex Cannings. The sport had become very popular in this area and I can recall teams like 'Gem Pirates' from Oakdale, 'Newtown Eagles", "Wallisdown Whippets". There were quite a number of other teams but their names have been lost in the 'mists of time'. By the 1950s of course many of us were called up for 'National service' and girlfriends and wives had become the order of the day and we therefore drifted away.
Roy and Rex have sadly 'passed on' so there is no-one to reminisce with as old men do, but I will always retain very many happy memories of Broadstone.
A memory shared byon Oct 29th, 2006.
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