Welcome to the BHS forum.
We welcome any memories of Byfleet life, or snippets of history related to Byfleet (by which we mean the ancient Parish covering Byfleet, West Byfleet and the nearby boundaries)
Following the air raids of 1940 the following three years were relatively quiet for Byfleet. Quite a number of brick air raid shelters were built in peoples gardens on the basis of approximately one shelter to every four households plus some additional roadside shelters. These were of remarkably tough construction as a few people found when they tried to remove front blast wall to turn the structure in to a garage after the war! In November 1942 St Marys church bells rang to celebrate the victory at El Alamein. Previously that would have signalled the invasion by the Germans. Just to remind us that they were still there, late one Sunday afternoon in the summer 1943 a Heinkel 111 flew at quite low level on a southerly course down the west side of the village, roughly on the line of the present M25. We happened to be in the garden and saw it quite clearly and of course our aircraft recognition was quite good by that stage of the war. Goodness knows where it had been but I believe it was later shot down over Sussex. At school assembly in 1943 the headmaster, Mr Hodgson, told us of a new sound in the sky which was made by a new aircraft which was jet propelled and had no propeller. It may make a whistling sound which we may mistake for some sort of new missile delivered by the Germans. D Day was marked by the sky being filled with aircraft all heading south, many of them towing gliders. We had never seen so many aircraft all at one time. Shortly afterwards the V1 flying bombs began to arrive. From the W Byfleet school records the first alert was on June 16th and was followed by numerous alerts until August 29th. It was only towards the latter part of this period that we saw or heard any in Byfleet. The thing about the flying bomb was that as long as you could hear it you were alright. It was when the engine stopped that life went on hold because nobody knew where it was going to land. Fortunately for Byfleet this did not happen very often in our area. However on August 21st our luck nearly ran out when a missile practically destroyed the home of Miss Pontsford, a teacher at the primary school. She lived on the south side of Byfleet Rd some 250 yards east of the junction with Brooklands Rd. I remember seeing the propulsion pipe still leaning against what remained of the east wall. Although we did not know it at the time, another missile landed in the open fields some 390 yards south of the Byfleet Rd / Brooklands Rd junction about 200 yards east of the river. Four of us found the site by accident the following year when we cut across the fields from Plough Bridges to the Mill House taking a route on the east side of the river. Not a route that we would not we normally take. At that time the crater was still quite fresh, some 40ft in diameter and quite full of water, so we had no idea how deep it was. Interesting the crater can still be seen on Google Earth by switching back to the 1945 map. Actually I believe this to be somewhat later than 1945 because the prefabricated houses are apparent at both ends of Eden Grove Rd and these were not built until at least 1946. Prior to their construction both sites were conifer woods.
Comments: can anyone help me find my past, I am researching my family history and came across an identity card with the address of: Hut 10 The Camp, Sheerwater road West Byfleet. It was stamp 13th Apr 1951
I remember as a young lad living in a Nissan Hut in the middle of a wood for some time, but not able to find anything about it on line. Kind regards
I am in the school photo, 2nd row from front, 4th girl in!! on the right. My father servered in the local fire brigade for many years. A well known 'plasterer', also he worked for Tarents buiding firm. I was married in St Mary's church and now live in Aylesbury Buckinghamshire.I also attended West Byfleet School and have many happy memories of my time spent there.