The man he killed - Thomas Hardy
Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn
We should have sat down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!
But ranged as infantry
and starting face to face
I shot at him as he at me
- and killed him, in his place
I shot him dead, because
Because he was my foe
Just so; my foe of course he was
That's clear enough - although
He thought he'd 'list perhaps
Off hand just like I, was out of work,
Had sold his traps - no other reason why
Quaint and curious war is
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is
Or help to half a crown
Whilst the two World Wars of the last century remain in the memories of Upton residents, the only evidence of wartime activity are the two Roman roads bisecting Upton which remain from the Roman occupation of AD43.
"I believe the Parish Hall was given to the village by the Lees family after the Boer War when all the local men came home from the War without losing anybody and the Lees family gave the people in Lytchett a choice of having flush toilets installed or they could have a Parish Hall and they decided they didn't want toilets, they wanted the Parish Hall."
"I remember in the First World War in 1914-1918 that I was a lad living in Frampton Terrace. The Navy had an airship base in the Pine Copse at Upton and cut down trees and moored the airships to the ground so no-one could see them. When they flew off, they passed over Upton with their two engines running. They patrolled along the coast and the sea looking for German 'U' boat submarines. They carried small bombs ready to drop on them. When they flew back over Upton, they had ballast in the form of sand and metal balls. To land they released the ballast over the fields but some fell in the gardens in front of Frampton Terrace. We boys used to play marbles with them."
"The airship were in the trees at Upton, at the bottom of the hill on the left hand side, opposite the Llewellins. The trees were cut down a certain width through and those airships used to set down below, I do not know if anywhere else had airships but they could get them down below the trees and would not be seen for a long way. The barrage balloons were left up all the time. The airships belonged to the Navy, they were cigar shaped, but not as big as the Zeppelin, with 2 engines and used to go up and down the Channel looking for submarines, they were English."
The First World War involved many men who served in France in the Dorset Regiment.
Those men have now passed away but were the characters who remain in many memories today in stories of village life. At this time there were shortages and there was a soup kitchen at Upton House and another at the Parish Hall at Lytchett Minster. Local residents grew vegetables and kept hens.
"In the First World War, Mum used to make dripping and get all the marrow bones and make soup, she fed us well, vegetables out of the garden. My uncles used to help as well, we did not dig the potatoes they brought the plough up."
"The Manor House was previously home to the Lees family, it had also been used as a School for Young Ladies and during the First World War, I was told, it was used as a hospital for the wounded brought home from the battlefields of France."
"Many Upton people can recall seeing the gangs of German and Italian prisoners of war with the distinctive yellow patch on their backs who worked in the area on the local farms. I was told "Them were good workers". A well known story is that of the First World War German sailor who dived in and saved the life of a local boy, Les Dominey who lived in Frampton Terrace and who fell through the ice when the pond in one of the old clay pits was frozen over. The irony was that as a soldier in the Second World War, Les Dominey was captured by the Germans at Tobruk during the North African Desert campaign."
The hardship of life in the years up to 1939 came in useful during the Second World War.
Fending for themselves and "make do and mend" had already been learnt. As in the First World War, many local men and women were in the services and conscripted into essential war work in London factories and some boys into Welsh coal mines.
"Of course the War was on then, the Second World War. I was born in 1921 and they called me up, I went in the coal mines. I went to Wales in a place called Oakdale, funny thing, called Oakdale Navigation Colliery. I am a fully fledged collier, I am, I went down the mines."
"I remember being in the public bar of the Upton pub at the crossroads, left hand end of the pub, sawdust on floor in the public bar, dart board on wall."
"Me and my mates were there on the Saturday evening, September 2nd 1939, it had been raining as I remember. One old chap said :Won't be any War and if there is, you lot won't be any bloody good, not like we were in 1914, last time." The next day at 11 o'clock, Sunday morning, the radio said we were at war with Germany. Sunday September 3rd 1939. I remember it like yesterday, next year I was in the Army."
"We got our gas masks from the ARP at Mrs Ede's Corner House annexe. Adults had the same type as children only bigger, it fitted under your chin and had strips to fit round the back of your head. It had a filter about 3" long in front which you breathed through and a cellophane window to see out of, and we kids had to get used to wearing one. In Poole the kids were made to sit in class wearing them during lessons for a while. Babies had a special mask, which they lay in, it was rubber like our gas masks but had a big cellophane window and a pump and filter which got clean air into baby. We used to make rude noises wearing them by blowing hard and lifting the rubber round the cheek. My mum laughed at that but cried when she put baby in the gas mask, which fitted into her pram. The gas mask fitted into a cardboard box, which you carried everywhere hung from your shoulder, kids as well, and you had to carry them everywhere otherwise you would be stopped by the ARP men or the police."
"Another thing I remember was Dunkirk in May 1940. The trains from Poole were full of troops as they went through Upton railway gates. My dad had been in France and I waited to see if he was looking out of the train, full of troops but I didn't see him. My mum got a message to say he was OK in Kent."
Upton now was less than 100 miles away from the Germans, London was closer, and so there was a real threat of German invasion.
"All road signs were removed, large flat fields had obstacles to stop German gliders landing and concrete tank traps were built across fields and near the beaches where concrete pill boxes were built. Barbed wire was also put along the beaches round Poole and Bournemouth. At Hamworthy they were about 20 feet out at high tide and later in the War and after, you could only swim in that bit."
The War was now close to Upton and everyone was ready for the worst in May 1940.
"There were some trenches dug out by the school near the St Dunstan,s Church where Mike went because when the siren went, we were up there all the mothers who lived there and used to get in the shelters with them. The Church was a school all the week and they used to cover the font up so you could not see it was a church then. Teachers, mothers and children went into the trenches, they were not terribly deep."
"And my gran made my brother, sister and I a little cushion out of one of her old macs because she was afraid we would catch cold when we sat down. The sirens would tell you when an air raid was on. The siren was up where the shop is now, at the back of the Upton Hotel because if you were unfortunate enough to go by and it started up, it used to give you quite a shock. It was called the Moaning Minnie when it used to start. The waver note meant the air raid was imminent and the all clear was just one note. It happened a fair amount, night and day."
"I remember in the Battle of Britain, there were the dog fights and my mum came up to the school and she said we would have to come home. She said "Run" so I ran ahead and then this plane came over and it was quite low and I was a bit frightened so I went in the hedge and my mum passed me, completely oblivious. I was saying "Mum, mum wait for me" because I was frightened and you could hear the machine gunning and the noise that they made."
There were no street lights in Upton then until after the War but everything was dark at night everywhere with the blackout. Dark screens inside the windows and the glass taped up to prevent glass splinters when a bomb fell close. Thick curtain at the front door to help keep gas out if we had a gas attack. The ARP would shout "Put that light out" if you showed a light.
There were two types of air raid shelters available, the 'Anderson' which was buried 3 feet deep in the back garden and then covered with earth and sandbags and had a sack or wood top at the front. Then there were the public ones if you were caught out; they could hold about 60 people, built above ground with wood benches inside, they became ideal 'courting' spots. The 'Morrison' was the other domestic type, assembled downstairs in the house.
"It was the size of a double bed with an angle iron frame and plate steel roof, it stood about 3 feet above the floor. The sides were lift off metal grills and when the air raids started every night, we slept in there. The whole family and cat and dog. The dog smelt and always shook with the noise of the guns going off."
"Sadly when I was young, the War broke out. There was a siren situated high up near to the crossroads and when we heard it, the family along with pets retreated to the galvanized air raid shelter built into the earth at the bottom of our long garden. I hated it there, especially when it rained, it was damp, dark and slippery but it had to be and we all waited until the 'all clear' sounded. I can remember seeing the search lights bright into the night sky and the sounds of the approaching planes, heavy with their bombs. Another happier memory of that time is of the Americans arriving and their throwing chewing gum to the children waiting on the pavements, we thought this was wonderful."
"I remember the Upton Gun site up where the Upton bypass is now reaching over to near Upton Oil Company. There were a lot of gunners, men and ATS girls with 3 inch anti aircraft guns. The flight path to the Midlands was over Poole and the guns fired as they went to the Midlands and then again when they returned hours later. We all got used to disturbed nights and windows rattling and bombs falling by day and night."
Some German planes were shot down over the harbour and bits of them dredged up and left on Poole Quay for collection.
"My father used to creep up the road and we had a shelter in the garden and once when he came in he said "Do you know what, I heard aircraft go over". I said "where was it" and he said "out over the Rockley and I am sure there was an aircraft went down." Nothing was found and then Arne was all grown over down to Wareham and back. Years after the War, when they were clearing it back to normal, they found an aircraft and all the men were dead in it. He must have heard that aircraft. They buried the men in St Marys Churchyard. They were German, the plane that went in was one of the latest they had and they didn't have any gen on it at the time and if they had known all about that before, it might have helped. I think there were 5 men on board."
Because of the threat of German invasion in 1940, the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) was formed, this became the Home Guard (Dad's Army) and was formed from ex soldiers of the First World War and boys awaiting call up at 18 years of age. The Lytchett and Upton Home Guard had Sir John Lees at the Manor as CO with Sergeant Dance, the Manor Head Gardener, in charge. Also from the South Dorset Hunt they formed a cavalry unit and sons of local farmers joined.
The Home Guard.
"When the war started, we had the Home Guard at Lees' Manor, which is the school now. We had horse racing and all the farmers' sons and such like, that had horses could join the Home Guard (the Mounted Home Guard we used to call it) and we used to go down all the country lanes and the Parish on horseback. We used to enjoy that because it was like playing cowboys and Indians. All the weapons we had, well they said if there was any likelihood of invasion they would supply you with revolvers but we had truncheons to carry with us. We had to observe and map reading and all this nonsense, go all over different places and find our way back but we used to find ourselves to the nearest pub and stay for hours at the station on Sunday mornings."
Meet of the South Dorset Hounds at South Lytchett Manor
George Dance, the Sergeant, was shot accidentally in the stomach while on manoeuvres in the Upton fields. He was taken to Cornelia Hospital, Poole and survived. He used to give gardening hints on the Bournemouth Radio broadcasts.
Even though there was a threat of German invasion, a number of children had been evacuated from London, Southampton and Portsmouth to Poole and Dorset. The population of Upton children meant extra classrooms were required and the Liberal Hall, Methodist Chapel and Parish Hall at Lytchett Minster supplemented the Church School at Upton and the school at Lytchett Minster to which children went from age 7 to 14. At 14 years they left school completely in most cases, unless they passed to Grammar School and their parents could afford to send them.
"At Poole Grammar School, the buildings were shared with King Edwards School, Southampton. A shift system was in use for 6 days including Saturdays; mornings one week, afternoons the next, 8.30am to 1 pm and 1.30pm to 6pm with two hours homework each day. When the bombs fell, we got used to doing homework by candlelight. At night, buses had only a bit of light from the headlight dimmed and all lights out in the bus, very few cars were around then as petrol was rationed and the Army took cars for military use."
"Because of the War we had to make do with different schools and all that, I remember during the War the Germans used to come over regular at night and I can remember having to get up at say about 11 o'clock at night and I used to stay downstairs in the hall and I was put on a mattress to sleep until the all clear had gone perhaps three o'clock in the morning."
"Mum had some evacuees here. She had Topsy, a little girl, then 2 boys lan and Allan Dedman from Southampton because it was pretty bad at Southampton. But I always had a mother and child because a woman for company for me and a child for my son. Mrs Brooks was headmistress of that litt!e school and she would get these people for me, always had nice people, they came from London mostly. Mum had Maureen Hunt and Maureen Green, she stayed after the War and came with me as well. Maureen Green came when she was 11 yrs and stayed here until she was married, she never went back because she had no relations and did not know where she came from. Poor little waif with a white scarf round her neck, very thin. The two lads who stayed with Mum came back a few years ago and looked us all up."
"Way I remember these boys was my brother in law, he used to take them out for rides in his car, don't know where he got the petrol from, and he used to pull these boys' legs something cruel. There's a place called Scotland in the Purbecks, out near Stoborough, and he used to say "We're going to Scotland" and he took them out there and they were pleased as punch they had gone to Scotland."
"I had my children mostly from Plumstead and different places in London but Southampton as well.
The 2 boys, when they were little, would come out and play with my son. My dad used to do the garden, he kept the garden going while my husband was away and I have photographs of these 2 boys helping with a bonfire. One of the boys came to see us all a few years ago and said he remembered me writing to my husband every night. All the children were brought to you at your house, we did not collect them. Maureen Green used to write to Mum after she got married. Maureen Hunt came down later to see us and I had her mother with Jean, her little sister, they came from Plumstead."
"Nearly everybody had evacuees, we had them. It depended on the rooms. We stayed in contact up until not so long ago with the Nother girls, the first ones we had from Southampton and the second two we had from Southampton but their mother had died. Their father was in the army and my mother had the 2 girls. My mum used to get army allowance, so would your Aunt Flo. They really kept in touch, they all used to come and bring their children after the War."
"My aunt had 3 boys and they were brothers and sisters. My Aunt Flo was Mrs Kent in a tiny cottage in Slough Lane. When Aunt Flo was alive, Ken kept in touch with Aunt Flo all the time and even now, I don't know, he lives at Canford Heath or Poole somewhere. The girl Sheila used to come and bring her children with her, and Brenda."
"I can remember the time when the German bombers were after the Ordnance Factory at Holton Heath and a decoy fire was lit on Upton Heath. For safety my father took the family late at night in the car over the hills and we could see all the heath burning and the bombers bombing the heath. Luckily they did not touch the Cordite Factory. Dad was an ARP warden at that time going out in the evenings to check that people had their blackout screens on their windows properly and they weren't showing any light but they were also trained to deal with incendiary fires and damage if any bombs were dropped. At that time, the bombers were often going over Upton and then coming back and dropping any bombs they had left before they went out over the Channel."
"Also I remember my mother riding towards Poole from Broadstone downhill and there was an aircraft dogfight in the sky and she dropped her bike in the middle of the road and was shouting "Come on, come on" to the English fighter pilot. In the days of the War, the Germans used to drop silver tinfoil over England, which was to get the telephone wires to interfere with the telephones. I can remember them dropping quite a lot up at the Limberlost and we were picking up all these bits of tinfoil, strips of about 6 inches long and % inch wide."
"As my father 'worked on the land', as it was called then (categorised as farmers, dairymen, etc.), he was exempt from being admitted into the Armed Forces but was a Fire Watcher. He could not join the Home Guard because of his daily milk round duties seven days a week. I remember his tin helmet, the gas masks we were issued with and a long damp underground shelter in the field at the side of our house that we all huddled into when a loud air raid siren went off. This used to fill up with water at times and became very muddy so duckboards were put on the floor to walk on."
Boys joined the Army, Navy or Air Cadets at 16 years and attended parades in the evening before volunteering at 17 years or being called up at 18 years of age. If you had a job of national importance, you were deferred but a lot were called up after the War as conscription lasted for over 15 years after the War ended.
"My father was not in the Forces during the War as he was an aircraft fitter and so in a reserved occupation. During the War certain jobs were considered essential either for the war effort or to keep the country running and therefore men in these jobs were required to remain in the job and had to have permission from the authorities to move or work elsewhere. There were aircraft factories in Dorset where he could work in the same occupation so he was allowed to move. He worked at Tarrant Rushton airfield and for De Havillands in Wimborne although I am not sure which firm he worked for during the War."
Women and girls also had to register for war work either in the Forces or in factories or as Land Army Girls. Many had to move to Southampton, Portsmouth or London for factory work to allow men to join the Services. A number of local girls worked at Holton Heath Cordite Factory as did some from Poole and Parkstone who went by train to Holton Heath.
"There was another one called Dorset Clay Products, but they took the factory over from the ammunition's factory which was called Dornay Days, which used to make shell cases and bomb cases in Factory Road at Upton. I can picture the women riding to work with their turbans on and their smocks on riding up the road to go to work on these machines in Dornay Days."
"They came there just before the War to build a factory to make big clay pipes. They never got going because the War started so they turned it into a factory for making shell cases, the women used to work there making shell cases. I can remember hearing the music, "Music While You Work" was on, at lunchtime I could hear that coming over the loudspeakers system. I can remember they used to come out live from the railway station at Poole, used to pick up some of the shell cases, I can remember these boxes being taken away, then they used to put them on the train I suppose."
At 18 years of age, conscription into the Forces for men separated many families, leaving lonely wives and children. Some men did not see their families for nearly five years.
"My husband was in the Second World War, he was a Desert Rat. He was in England for a year and a half, called up immediately because he was in the Territorials, our son was born then, he was 2 when he went out. Then he went abroad and I never saw him for 4% years, he was in heavy artillery and ended up as Staff Sergeant in charge of a platoon."
As these memories are only of the Upton and Lytchett area, the experiences of servicemen and women away from Upton are not included. However, Poole and Upton were now in the front line:
"There were a lot of bombs dropped round here but not much damage, there were a lot of incendiaries dropped, any amount, and they would set the heath alight. Edna Burbidge's house was burnt down when they were in the toilet out in the garden. There was one place in Corfe Mullen, a single house, and there was a raid on (a woman got killed in that one) and they went back to bed upstairs and when they got up the floor gave way and they ended up on the ground, the walls had opened up a bit. With the bomb damage you could see amazing things. Up the bottom end I had a friend there and there was a house with a glass house laid onto it like a greenhouse and it was really rough. I went down there and a bomb had pitched in a tree a few yards away blew the tree out of the ground but never broke the glass, amazing. A bomb pitched in Poole, broke one glass and then dived across the road and went up the High Street. There was quite a lot of bombing in Upton. Up along the Roman Road there I have seen craters up there and I remember one, there was a tree blown up, a big fir tree with roots and all and dirt plonked up on top."
"There was a house down our lane burnt right out. They took the old lady out. I was sleeping down Creekmoor that night and next morning, Doug's father brought us up and we went into our bungalow to see all the mantels for gas were broken and cracks in 2 of the grates."
"There were Anderson shelters in gardens. We had to have our shelter indoors, the third bedroom. When the raids came we had to get in the bottom of a shelter and a man and wife were in the top."
Going to school or work in Poole could be dangerous. 67 civilians were killed in Poole and over 100 injured. 82 buildings were destroyed and 5000 damaged by incendiary bombs. 500 high explosive bombs fell on Poole and 10,000 incendiary bombs dealt with.
The harbour beneath the mud must still hold many more today.
Three bombs fell in Sandy Lane from where No. 56 is today to one in Yarrells Lane. The present housing was not built then. The incendiary bombs were the most numerous and every house had a basic defence against them.
"I remember we had a bucket full of sand, some damp sacks, a bucket of water, a stirrup pump and a shovel on the end of a broom handle. The idea was to put sand on the bomb itself, use the wet sacking and spray the bits of household stuff on fire with the stirrup pump. Then you slid the shovel under the bomb and threw it into the garden. That was the theory, thank God it was never necessary."
Some boys would go up to Upton Heath after an air raid looking for 'souvenirs', some spare cupboards now looked like War Museums with bits of bombs, shrapnel, bits of aeroplanes, bullets, etc. and fins from incendiary bombs. Incendiary bombs were small, only about 1 foot long by 2 inches diameter and weighed 2Ibs. There were warnings to boys at school from going onto the Heath as it was dangerous. In Poole, boys had been killed or scarred for life touching bombs.
Food, clothing, petrol and coal were all rationed and whilst in Upton we were luckier than the 'Townies' who only had 1 egg per person per week, we could keep hens and rear from day old chicks from Hollands. For food it was necessary in Upton to either register at Mrs Harvey's at the Post Office or at Mrs Ede in the Corner House at Upton Cross.
"Rationing was the same everywhere. I still have a cut out from a newspaper to show how much you could have like 20z sugar, 20z butter and dried egg, my son used to like that and we used to have a packet which had about 10 and he used to have all that, just a few rashers, hardly anything, 1 banana."
"Another little job I used to have to do was counting points because through the War everything was on points - you paid 2 points for a tin of salmon, everything was done on points, even your sweets you had coupons for. You had this book of coupons and your sweet coupons, people used to get very angry if things came in that were off ration, and they didn't get their fair share.
You could not buy more of an.. hing, it was rationed. Cheese was rationed. I think it was 2 ounces of cheese for one person, so if there was one person living on their own, you had to weigh out 2 ounces of cheese, and that had to be 2 ounces exactlv - because otherwise you were going over the ration.
Cheese didn't have coupons for that - it was for tinned things really, dried egg, I can remember dried egg yolk. It used to make lovely scrambled eggs, I can remember that, and my mother used to make quite good cakes with scrambled egg and treacle and goodness knows what. I mean, everybody became very efficient at doing all these things. Coupons were in a book - you were allowed so many a month, and your sweet coupons I think was 12 ounces a month or something like that. Parents saved up for Christmas - everybody seemed to have a good Christmas because all the points were saved up and all the sweet coupons were saved, so that everybody had a really good Christmas even if they starved the rest of the year, you had a good Christmas."
One young Upton girl remembers that "clothes became more valuable than money. Skirts got shorter, wooden sole shoes became popular, hair styles were sweeps and page boys. Also if you had long hair, you folded this over a cloth ring (usually an old stocking) and made a very neat hair do. With the page boy style, snoods became the rage and as one dear old villager said on espying mine "What the hell's that you got on yer head maid, looks like a gurt pig net."
You could get a hot meal at Poole in a 'British Restaurant'. There was one towards Oakdale up an alley opposite the George Hotel. They were very popular and you had to queue up for a long while, self service, but they were cheap fatty stew and vegetables, sometimes spam and vegetables.
"Paper was also in short supply. Toilet rolls were treated like gold dust and of course one read the news in strange places. The family all had to take turns to cut up little squares, which were then threaded with string and hung somewhere handy. It was dreadful if the only paper available was Picture Post. The Andrex puppy would have a hard time pulling that around. I remember a friend of mine went to buy a small potty for her nephew and having to walk through Poole High Street with it clutched unwrapped. She came in for quite a few comments!"
"My mother was always one to experiment with wartime recipes. Sugar and fat being rationed, it was hard to make cakes. She discovered she could make quite a reasonable sponge mixture with dried egg and golden syrup and a small amount of margarine. Quite edible when fresh but resembled latex rubber when stale. Another recipe she tried was Fig and Rhubarb jam. This was voted delicious.
Everyone spreading it liberally on their bread. The consequences were not so good. One steady queue to the toilet the next day. When we complained, we were told a good clear out would do us the world of good. She also baked her own bread for many years."
Food rationing continued for 7 years after the War ended in 1945.
"The then 'Sunday Pictorial' had a contest to find the twenty best housewives in Britain. My mother was lucky to be chosen as one of the twenty. For this she received a Diploma signed by the then Food Minister Lord Woolton (does anybody remember Woolton pie?). Also she received National Savings Certificates, I can't remember how many."
The skies of Upton were always full of aircraft and one Upton boy remembers seeing:
"Three planes, all Allied, crashing in the Village during the War. The first, a Miles Magister yellow training plane, crashed into the stream which ran at the end of the garden behind the Bakers Arms and crashed at a point where the roundabout is today. The pilot was killed.
A Liberator 4 engined bomber was flying from the direction of Corfe Mullen towards the sea. The outer port engine was on fire. At a point above the Limberlost, the crew jumped out, not all the parachutes opened unfortunately. The pilot stayed in the plane and suddenly the port wing fell off the plane. It dived vertically into Huntick Hill behind Race Farm and exploded, killing the pilot. The crater where he died is still there to see. I believe that had the crew baled out earlier they would have lived.
It was in staying so that the plane could reach the harbour and not kill people on land by crashing on the Village that the pilot sacrificed his life.
The other incident featured in the National Press of the time as a censored report "Taking place in Southern England". A Boeing B17 Flying Fortress running out of fuel made a wheels up crash landing in a field alongside the Dorchester Road. The Americans raised the plane above the ground and replaced the undercarriage and the 4 propellers. The Americans built a runway and on April 6th 1943, the same pilot flew the plane off, watched by cheering and waving villagers. The plane did a low level run over the field and climbed above the Bakers Arms. The Village had a 4 engined Boeing taking off before Heathrow. The other exciting thing to do was to go to Hamworthy Park and watch the Flying Boats take off. Both civil in the early days of the War and after, and for a while Sunderlands of Coastal Command in the middle of the War. For a time, Poole was Britain's main long distance civil airport and flights to America and Australia took off from Poole, past Hamworthy Recreation Ground and up into the sky beyond Rockley railway bridge."
Upton during the War was part of the Parish of Lytchett Minster and all Upton wartime records would be listed as being in Lytchett Minster.
"One problem in those days was keeping clothes clean and yourself clean. People did not have bathrooms in most Upton houses and a wash down in a tub once a week was the usual, anyway you were only supposed to have water 5 inches deep in a bath which only covered the knees. There was no tap hot water, all water had to be heated and coal was rationed. No hot water was wasted whether it was used on clothes, people and then the floor.
When late in the War the Americans came to Dorset, one of the first things they built were shower blocks. One was under the Guildhall in Poole where our precious water was wasted in hot showers, no wonder at first we resented them.
Upton and Lytchett now started to look bedraggled, the metal railings round the Manor had gone for scrap, metal gates taken from houses, metal saucepans and aluminium saucepans taken for the 'War effort'. Most children were part of one parent families and children had to be left alone through air raids whilst mother was working or several would get together as an unofficial creche.
There was a warm friendly spirit amongst everyone, they had all got to know each other in Upton, doors were never locked. There was the blackout, there were the French sailors in Poole, the Canadian soldiers, the Navy in Poole and the Army at Upton Camp and the British soldiers at the Manor.
And yet between ourselves, there was no threat of mugging or break ins at home or assault in the street. So much is different today. Between 1940 and 1945, I left my bike without a padlock by the side of Mrs Ede's shop every week day. I could always count on it being there 8 hours later."
For entertainment there was the radio or cinemas in Hamworthy or Poole with the Amity and Regent. The Regent was the best and sited where Falklands Square is today. There was a main feature film, a second film, the trailers, a propaganda war effort short and community singing following the bouncing ball on the screen while the organ played.
During the War, most of the larger cinemas had their own organist.
The Amity was in Poole High Street where Woolworths now is. The Amity was the first Poole cinema and was old before the War. It did have double 'courting seats' but no organist; still you can't have everything.
There were dances in the Village at the Parish Hall, the Yarrells, the Women's Institute hut and the Liberal Hall. Many a lasting marriage started at those dances. During the War, there was no organised sport in Upton. The boys used to play cricket or football on Upton Rec behind Wyatt's yard but only between themselves. There was a set of swings in the corner of the Rec and sometimes the ATS girls from the Camp would run to them whilst out on a PT run, they wore brown knickers and a top and the boys would whistle at them!
The War had been on for 4 years and then the word went round Upton "The Yanks are coming". They came in their thousands to the Poole area. The 1st Infantry Regiment, "The Big Red One", was to embark from Dorset to Omaha Beach as it turned out and anyone who saw the film "Saving Private Ryan" can appreciate what hell waited for them after their last night in the Manor grounds or down Moorland Way.
"So when in early 1944 the Yanks came to the village, most schoolboys had seen more death and destruction than these Yanks with their medals. Some Americans were killed in a road crash on the bend opposite the Church. The Parish Hall at Lytchett was a mortuary that night.
It did not take long for attitudes to change and for those in the Village, these polite young men with their smart uniforms and plenty of money, and sweets to give to the kids, cigarettes to give to Grandad, and nylons to offer to Mum and the daughters, soon won over the doubters. Hollywood was real and for the kids it was like Christmas, a real one, not enjoyed since before the War and even if it was March, it felt like Christmas."
South Lytchett Manor Park entranceThe Americans built a camp in the Manor grounds making new roads round the Manor.
They laid the camp out from the present caravan site in the grounds beyond the Courtyard Centre and in fact above the second Roman Road through Upton, which lies below the grass. The tents were in lines with duckboard wooden pavements and they had shower and toilet blocks, a camp cinema, a PX shop and Messes. They had tinned fruit, ice cream, meat, fruit including oranges which most kids hadn't seen or couldn't remember tasting. They had other food not seen before like peanut butter, but they had real butter, eggs, cream and milk as well. It was like another world after 4 years of not seeing so much food. Then there were the sweets, proper sweets like chocolates, Hershey bars, chewing gum, lifesavers. They could offer cigarettes, tobacco, cigars, nylons, cosmetics for the girls of Upton. They employed local ladies to do their washing and ironing but were always polite and generous.
There were coloured American soldiers as well. The first black people seen by most of Britain then. They seemed all white teeth and white of eye and they all looked the same.
It was hard to recognise one from another so unused were we to seeing coloured faces.
They, like the other soldiers, were great with the kids and generous with sweets but did suffer with a colour bar with the white soldiers. Their washing had to be done separately and certainly not with white officers' washing.
They cleared some of the gorse and heather and Moorland Way was a smaller tented camp with a concrete pool about 15 feet deep and 20 feet long which was dug into the ground round about where the telephone box is today. The pool was used to test the tank waterproofing as the tanks were sent ashore on 'D' Day.
"During the early months of 1944 the whole area was an assembly point for the D-Day forces. A vast camp of American soldiers under canvas appeared in Shore Lane and Yarrells Wood near the waters edge, and their tanks and vehicles blocked the roads for miles around. They were under tight security but some managed to drop in at the Upton Pub where they toasted 'The Duchess' alias Mrs Samways, the long-retired local midwife who entertained them with her memories of how she had brought many local people into the world. But they, and the Free French who also assembled on the shores of Lytchett Bay, disappeared overnight at the beginning of June."
Rumour had it that "The D-Day operation was in fact masterminded from this area with General Montgomery having his famous caravan tucked away at the Worlds End pub up the road at Almer,
and General Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander based at Lytchett Manor, then known officially as Camp 02."
"All of a sudden around June 3rd they were gone, leaving just duckboards, tents and scribbled messages. Upton residents were among the first to know, certainly before the Germans! The night of June 5th and into the 6th June, there was a continuous stream of aircraft over Upton. Then the sound of guns echoing across the waters. '0' Day had begun and the Yanks of 'The Big Red One', who had laughed with us the week before, were now facing death.
We boys had scoffed at them, they came with smart uniforms and medals, even one for being in Dorset as a War Zone, 100 miles from the enemy. We had ambushed them on Beac()n Hill and thrown fir cooes at them, they knew a lot of swear words those Yanks, and now they were earning their medals.
From 1943 when Italy surrendered, we had seen a number of Italian prisoners of war working on Poole Quay and on the farms. Now in 1945 with the threat of air raids over, Upton Camp became a prisoner of war camp for captured German soldiers. They also worked on the land.
Then in May 1945 Germany surrendered and in August the the Japanese. Time to celebrate with drinks in the 'Upton' and a Conga dance round the car park, Poole Quay and Bournemouth were alive with joy after 5 years of War."
Then the servicemen came home to Upton, some not having seen their wives or children for 4 years. They carried a cardboard box with a suit, shirt, tie, shoes, Trilby hat and raincoat, ready to face normality of another 7 years of rationing, plus now bread on the ration.
The Service pay for a single Private soldier of 15 pence per day was now replaced with 44 or 48 hours work for 10 pence per hour, under £5 per week less National Insurance, to help pay for a pension at the age of 65.
Upton began to change with new houses being built, Council houses and BDH staff houses down Moorland Way. The German prisoners of war remained interned at Upton Camp until 1948 and during the post War years, were seen around the Village. In Germany, British troops were not allowed to fraternise with the German women. The same rule applied officially to the Germans here but they became accepted.
"I think they were having a good time, they were out of the War and working on the farms and people used to look after them, English people used to give them food and all that, they was out of the War.
No feelings of bitterness."
"I can remember in our summer holidays we used to work on Arnolds Farm on the haymaking and we used to have the German prisoners of war and the Italians came up and help and collect the hay for the winter months and I can remember they had a football team and they used to have friendlies against Upton."
"I was saying to one 01 these Germans about the bombing and he pulled out two photos and said "These are my people years ago" and they were both white haired and they were in Cologne. I felt so sorry for the bloke. Later years, I met some blokes up at Stickland, I was doing some work on the farm out there, and three chaps were coming out working on the farm. The chap who owned the place said "I bet you could not guess where they came from" and they were talking in broad Dorset, real broad, and he said they were German prisoners who married local girls and speak perfect English."
After the German prisoners of war left the Upton Gun site, it was used for accommodation for locals:
"Where I live now in Douglas Close at the top, the majority of it used to be called the Old Gun site.
This being that, there used to be Anti-aircraft guns up there during the War. When I moved up here in 1954, it was still the Old Gun site and we lived in the old officer's quarters. My husband had walls built right round inside and all changed to make it nice and warm and that, but the thing is that there were only 7 of us up here at the time. Since 1976, a builder bought it and it's all been developed.
Now, I have lived up here since 1954, but I am in one of the new houses now."
"Lastly, I am now living on the land on which the Nissan Huts were erected for troops during the War called the 'Gun Site', the last one of which was demolished in 1966 or thereabouts, now just a distant memory."
The War was a catalyst for change in Upton, new housing and fresh faces, an increasing population and the growth from a Parish based at Lytchett Minster to a town with its own council. The new Clock Tower culminates the change from Parish to own in 40 years.
Upton Millennium Clock Tower