University of Oxford
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Childhood Memories of the War - John Hall

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:46 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My name is John Hall, I was born in 1940 and I lived in Tooting, South London. In 1943 we were bombed out and my parents decided I should, with my cousin Sylvia, be moved to safety to Walberton, near Bognor to live with my Great Aunt Rose, my Grandmother's sister, and so began my love for Bognor and the area.

The cottage was called Scafell. Aunt Rose lived in the cottage which had only oil lamps for lighting, which we did every evening. She was a lovely lady and took care of myself and Sylvia for about three years, until the end of the War. My parents stayed in South London. Every day the milkman came to the cottage door, and we went out with a jug, and the milk was ladled into our jug, measuring the milk with a special ladle.

Each week we set off to the local general store, Humphries, which was at the top of Dairy Lane. No longer a general store but a house. Here we deposited our accumulator, a large rechargeable battery. This had to be done, otherwise we could not access the wireless. Each week my Aunt and I went by the Silver Queen bus or a Southdown bus into Barnham and then Bognor. My Aunt was old school and carried a wicker basket over her arm for shopping. Sometimes there was a cattle market in Barnham and we would then visit the cattle market and as you can imagine, I had never seen anything like it. We then went on to Bognor. In 1943 Walberton was just a village and surrounded by fields and dairy cattle. Also, Dairy Lane was not paved and it was just a dirt road.

I went to Sunday school each week which was Walberton Chapel (now Walberton Baptist Church). I still have the New Testament given to me by the Sunday school teacher. Near the cottage was Bookers Farm, the whole surround was fields, today it is built up with houses. The farmer gave me a ride on his tractor almost weekly and as you can imagine it was a wonderful experience for a young boy from South London.

I now live in Bognor, possibly because of the War, which is an area I love.


Item list and details

A photo of John Hall in 1943 (aged 3).

Person the story/items relate to

John Hall

Person who shared the story/items

John William Hall

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

His own story

Type of submission

Shared at West Meads Community Hall, West Sussex on 11 November 2023. The event was organised by Bognor Regis u3a.

Record ID

101105 | BOG002