Supplied by Peter Ellingworth
Mick O’Dowd… I lent my copy to someone doing research on the subject who advertised in the H&SL O. Lived near the park. Never saw it again
Nigel Kennard… That’s nothing compared to what 4c did to the place in 1972!!
Phil Warner… (second photo) Norman Road?
Heather Sidery… Phil, looks like it. The school looks like Castledown Primary.
Clive Timperley… Heather, originally Priory Road Boys’ School 1891-1979. The Girls’ School was built next door in 1896. Converted in 2005 into a gated residential community known as Scholar’s Mews.
Lucy Pappas… It was the boys secondary school, now Scholars Mews x
Lloyd Johnson… That looks Like Mr Venn’s ( Bomb Head’s) class room which was our class room in the 50s…
Peter Ellingworth… This particular booklet of ‘Hastings And St Leonards In The Front Line’ I showed to Alan at the last coffee meet was one of the original issues published just after the war. I believe the ‘Observer’ did a reprint some years ago. Photos from top to bottom : Bofors AA gun on the sea front, from what I can see almost opposite the start of Robertson Street – like a lot of seaside towns, Hastings did not get adequate anti -aircraft defences until well into the war, meaning Nazi planes could, and did, for a while do their dastardly work pretty well at will. Middle – Norman Road looking westward from the London Road end after the raid of lunchtime Sunday, May 23rd.1943. One of the German aircraft crew, a certain Lt. Leopold Wegner, an Austrian, took photos of his own on this raid and one of his published photos is taken virtually at roof top height, clearly showing King’s Road, back of London Road, Christchurch and Marine Court. Wegner was killed three weeks before the end of the war. Live by the sword etc. etc …. My father worked on rebuilding the property as a post office (bottom right on photo) at the corner of Norman and London Road around 1960, which before being bombed was the Warrior Gate public house and had a narrow escape when a scaffolding clip falling from a height just missed his head. H & S was a lot more liberal then…. This raid by the way, was the same one which destroyed the Swan Hotel and Reeves’s antique shop in the High Street, and the second heaviest attack on the Borough until then, with the loss of 25 people killed, 30 with life changing injuries, and 55 slightly injured. My mother who stayed in Hastings for the duration lived at that time in Southwater Road , and clearly remembered the Doodlebugs passing, it seemed, straight up and directly over the road. She herself had a couple of narrow escapes from low flying machine gunning aircraft. Many Hastings schoolchildren were evacuated to Welwyn Garden City and St. Albans, near to where I live now during those terrible days. An excellent read if interested, is by Hastings born and bred author Nathan Dylan – Goodwin, entitled ‘Hastings at War’ 1939-45. Bottom photo, as most would recognise straight away, is Priory Road School.
Peter Ellingworth… On further perusing the internet, it seems this Lt. Leopold Wegner, the ardent Austrian born and bred Nazi Luftwaffe ( Air Force) pilot who led the air attacks on Hastings and other similar towns speciality was the South Coast hit and run raids, targeting anything it could irrespective of not being for military use. On the Isle of Wight Fire Brigade’s website is an article of the havoc he and his units caused there entitled ‘Enemy of The People’, saying how this one individual was responsible for more death, injury, and destruction disproportionately than many of his compatriots. On 23rd May 1943 coincident with the Hastings raid I have mentioned, Bournemouth was also hit with 128 or more killed alone, aside from the many injured. I presume after taking off from their base in Northern France, Wenger’s squadron split over the Channel, wave-hopping to avoid radar, one half targeting Bournemouth, the other Hastings. The worst attack of the whole war on Hastings, again led by Wenger, was the Thursday afternoon one of March 11th 1943 in which after making landfall near Fairlight, they swung round and swooped in at low height from the north dropping 25 HE bombs and machine gunning at will, killing 38, causing life changing injuries to 39, with 51 slightly injured and causing devastation mainly to the Silverhill area.
Catherine Ireland… Amazing information
Alan Esdaile… Yes thanks Peter for posting, lots I didn’t know.
Micky Erends… LIoyd, remember bomb head Ven well. Used to be the odd picture of him sketched on some of the desks!!