The Wartime Memories of Julian Rye

I was born on 31st July, 1940. The first bomb fell on London (Roman House in the City) on August 16th 1940. I say that Hitler’d heard of my birth, but missed!

My first years were in Hassocks, Sussex. We lived near the railway line. German planes would strafe on their way home from London raids, but the nearest bomb was a mile away. My memories are of all of us (parents, elder brother, younger sister and me) coming down stairs in the dark and hiding under the Morrison shelter in the dining room.

I can still see the planes and gliders flying South for presumably what was D Day. And all my drawings had barrage balloons in them. There was a hospital train parked in Hassocks railway sidings and I used to visit the injured servicemen.  I also remember (aged 4) not being able to sleep on a hot VE Day evening, because of the carousing at the pub by the station celebrating the victory.  All the old songs.

My father was a journalist, an exempt occupation, so he was an air raid warden and we had foreign servicemen (New Zealanders, American) to stay and German prisoners of war to help in the garden. One was from Eastern Germany and was fearful of returning home.

My father wrote for the Sussex Daily News and became deputy editor of the Brighton Evening Argus and wrote several leaders on the build up to the war and the war itself. I have some copies, but they are probably in the Sussex and  Argus archives.

Thanks to Julian Rye for sharing his memories of WW2.

Shane Greer

Author: Shane Greer

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