Soldiers and firefighters battled to save mansion

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I am hoping there might be a reader who can remember the fire at Westgate House, near Westbourne, West Sussex, in 1940.

The 32-bedroom house caught fire on Tuesday, March 26, in the early hours of the morning.

Brigades from Havant, Emsworth and Chichester fought the outbreak and their efforts to save many art treasures and antique furniture was aided by soldiers.

The outbreak was thought to have originated at the back of a bedroom fire grate where some papers lodged in the flue and gradually set alight the flooring of the bedroom.

Owing to the mansion’s distance from a water supply, two miles of hose were connected to get a feed from a stream that fed the River Ems at Walderton. Trailer pumps had to be connected all along the route to give the supply the necessary force.

Despite commendable efforts by the fire brigade and military the house was burnt out with only pillars and walls remaining.

Does anyone know where this house was located? Is it still there or was it demolished?

n Taken from the top of the Pall Mall building, on the opposite page we see the Ship and Castle pub on the corner of the Queen Street and the Hard, Portsea.

The original building was designed by Arthur Cogswell in 1902 and became popular with dockyard workers because it was right outside the main gate.

By the mid 1970s it had fallen into disuse but in 1980, when the photograph was taken, it was completely gutted and rebuilt inside.

n A few weeks ago, in my Saturday column, I posted three photographs of a biplane which had gone over the side from the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous

Below we see another biplane that is hanging on by its struts. The pilot must have been panicking somewhat.

n Can you believe the photograph in the bottom right? Children, some who appear to be about nine or ten years old, are playing on a demolition site somewhere in Portsmouth.

Imagine this happening today. The demolition firm would be taken to court and fined thousands.