Nevill Memoirs > Rosemary Page
Memories of living at 22 Windover Crescent, Neville Estate between 1941 and 1948, by Rosemary Page, Née Ward
I was born on 22nd July 1939 at Seaford when my Father was a Police Constable stationed at the Seaford Police Station.
When he was promoted to Sergeant in 1941 we moved to Lewes and lived in a Police owned house at 22 Windover Crescent. WW2 had been going on for two years, my father being a Policeman was in a reserved occupation, also he was part of ARP Fire watching at night – so we did not see much of him whilst the war lasted.
My first memory of living on the estate was the deafening noise of the firing of the anti aircraft guns which were mounted on the hills behind the estate. They were trying to shoot down German aircraft returning from raids on London and other cities.
When the air raid sirens went off my Mother, older sister and I would climb over the fence into our next door neighbour’s garden and go into their Anderson Air raid shelter. When my younger sister was born in 1942, my Mother would put her into an all encompassing Gas mask which looked like a space ship, we would wear our Mickey Mouse masks, my older sister would play ‘cats cradles’ and we chewed Ovaltine Tablets (a treat). I remember there were bunks for us to sleep on and the shelter always smelling of damp earth.
There were families in most houses around us, we played in the streets and in the surrounding fields and hills. We went to the Sunday School in St. Mary’s Hall, I remember the Christmas parties and summer outings.
I started school in September 1944 at St Anne’s Infant School, De Montfort Road. I walked to and from school each day and carried my lunch in a shoulder bag my mother had made from old curtains. When I was seven I progressed to Western Road Junior School where I stayed until my father was promoted again and we moved to Haywards Heath Police Station in 1948. I then went to Lindfield primary School for about a year and at age 11 started at Haywards Heath Secondary School.
About a year after that my Father was again promoted and we returned to Lewes, this time to live in another police owned house in Caburn Crescent from where I went to Mountfield Road Secondary School until leaving at age 15 and starting work.
My memories of living on the Neville estate are very mixed – on one hand there was a great community spirit, everyone knew and helped each other but for a young child my dominant memory was the experiences of being close to wartime action, which looking back has had a lasting effect, albeit in a minor way, on my life.
Rosemary Page – October 2018