Last Saturday a service of commemoration to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day was held at St James’s Church, Southwick.
The church was packed for the service, conducted by the Rev Robert Green, and also there were Robin and Mark Thistlethwayte the squire of Southwick and his son and Wing Commander M Bland, the Commandant of Southwick Park, formerly HMS Dryad.
After the service a map based on the famous D-Day map in Southwick House was unveiled.
Called The Liberation of Europe Map it was commissioned by the villagers of Southwick for the exhibition in the church. Its aim is to explain how D-Day led to the eventual liberation of Europe nearly a year later.
The map was designed by Megan Attwell and is based on the original.
A display within the church with the map and many photographs is open to the public every day and well worth a visit.
One of the curios on display are spent Tommy Gun slugs fired by Lord Montgomery of Alamein when he visited Broomfield House on the estate. They were dug out of a fallen tree which the great commander used for target practice.
Other items of interest concern the visit of Glenn Miller and his orchestra on August 4, 1944.
Glenn and his boys landed at Thorney Island in three C-53 transport planes and were taken to Southwick House in lorries and a staff car. The whole area was secured by many military police.
The band set up under camouflage netting on the lawn with General Eisenhower and his staff sitting in the front row.
For one local man’s mother it was a dream come true to be given a ticket for the show. Alas, she had it withdrawn at the last minute as the show was for service personal only.
Alan Crook, who was born in the village in 1933, told me it was his mother who received the invitation. She was desperately disappointed to be told she could not attend the concert.