With the forthcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day this coming June 6, Richard Ashworth, an artist from Portchester, has sent me a photograph of timeline scenes of Portsmouth during the war.
The complete painting is 6ft 8in by 1ft 8in. I am showing two parts. This scene is dated 1939/1940
The painting was on show last November as part of Portchester Library’s Remembrance display which raised funds for the Royal British Legion. The complete painting can be seen at Richard’s home with donations going to the Legion. Call (023) 9237 2926 to visit.
The piece, above, shows children being evacuated to the countryside. Air raid sirens give warning and warders keep watch and give assistance. A warden outside an Anderson shelter post is giving a message to a boy scout to deliver on his bicycle. What brave boys they were. To the rear, Portsmouth Guildhall is on fire and to the right anti-aircraft balloons and searchlights engage Luftwaffe bombers high in the sky.
Part two is dated 1940/1942 and civilian teams search a bombed-out house. A constable comforts an old man.
Overhead the Battle of Britain rages while ladies from the W.I. collect metal to make more Spitfires and Hurricanes.
To the right an Auxiliary Fire Brigade Unit clear up after a hard night. In the distant right hand side a Firefloat can be seen still in action, the coxswain being Mr S Foley of Portchester.
Whether these girls are waiting for a tram or using the platform for a rest, I cannot tell. But I do know they are at Point A, a tram platform where passengers changed cars to go onward to Horndean. The rails would have been to the right of the platform. It is on the left hand side of London Road climbing towards the George Inn.
To the left is the greensward of Portsdown Hill, now much overgrown with wild shrubbery.
To the right, out of frame, are a flight of steps leading down to London Road. They are still in situ opposite Widley Road, 83 years after their last usage for boarding a tram.
Picture: Harry Roberts collection.