Bringing People Together
Further to my two photos, another piece of useless information !!! After Dunkirk there were still a very large number of British and French soldiers fighting in France. The 'Rifles' supported by a small detachment of Royal Artillery, the Royal Tank Regiment and 800 French soldiers fought a rear guard action in Calais. They fought until they were out gunned by three to one. The soldiers who were not killed were all taken prisoner. Fred Lee our local postman who lived in Oldfield Road was a member of the TA. Fred was on his fourteen day camp with the East Surrey Regiment. He was mobilised while at camp, taken prisoner at St Valery-en-Caux with the 51st Highland Division and came home five years later. My friend who I worked with in Richmond Park was also in the East Surrey's he too was taken prisoner with the 51st at St Valery. They were marched all the way to Poland, where he spent five years working twelve hours a day on a Polish farm. He never really got over his five year incarceration. My boss Major Hopkirk MC who became Bailiff of the Royal Parks was with the Seaforth Highlanders at St Valery. He was a war hero, hence his Military Cross. Even in the Royal Parks he was always Major Hopkirk !!! I well remember Fred Lee's homecoming. My family lived opposite the Lee family house. Mrs Lee, a real old 'East Ender', approached my mother to ask if she could use our drain pipe to string flags across the road with 'Welcome Home Fred'. Fred in his uniform, came from the Station, down the alley next to the Pub, saw all the people clapping, turned and ran away. I think they must have found him, then followed a good old 'East End' Party that went on all night. Nobody complained. Hampton was a fantastic place to live, with no cars, no aircraft, no yobs. Just nurseries, glass houses and lots of policemen. Oh well, there you go. Regards. Bryan.