Bathing under fire at Eastney

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Last week’s photograph of the so-called ‘new’ beach at the Eastney end of Southsea seafront struck a chord with regular correspondent Eddie Wallace.

He says: ‘It was taken in the late 1940s.

I can recall as a lad, along with my family, cousins and uncles who used to descend on us from all over the country for the summer holidays, we used to go to the beach for a day out.

‘Several of the tents were hired alongside each other so they formed a group for the whole family.’

He continues: ‘There used to be a raft (made in the Dockyard) anchored about 50 yards off the beach which was a great attraction.

‘At the end of the day a horde of council workers would descend on the beach and take down the tents which were kept in a wooden compound alongside the promenade under lock and key’

Eddie said he noticed Royal Marines’ rifle butts in the top left corner of the photo and the white flagpole in front of them (actually of course the pole was quite a distance from the butts ).

‘When the ranges were in use a red flag was flown from this pole and the police and a couple of marine ‘‘stick guards’’ were posted there to stop would-be bathers from going any farther along the beach.’

And Bob Thompson got in touch to say he thought it was called ‘new beach’ because it had been closed for five years during the Second World War.