NOSTALGIA: When Portsmouth was anÂ army garrison as well as home of Royal Navy
To read somebodyÂ else's letters is always seen as the height of being nosy, but a new book by local author David Bickerton is just that, letters written during the war between two sweethearts '“ Â his late parents Don and Linda.Â
When they died within a year of each another everything was left to David including aboutÂ 150 letters exchanged between the two lovers.
They were written between 1942 and 1945 and are full of passion but also include details of films seen, books read and swing music.
The 106-page bookÂ of letters also gives an insight into conditions in the Royal Navy of the period.
Don joined as a rating but was soon commissioned and promoted to a lieutenant in the RNVR in Coastal Forces. He took command of a minesweeping motor launch seeing much action in and around theÂ Mediterranean.
As I say, the letters are very personal at times but well worth reading as isÂ the description of life on small craftÂ during the Second World War. Parents At War is available from New to You Bookshop, High Street, Cosham, or via [email protected]
'¢Â At one time Portsmouth was a garrison town and barracks could be found all over the city '“Â fromÂ Old Portsmouth to Eastney and Hilsea.
I've beenÂ given a book by '˜Dave of Copnor', Â Portsmouth, A Handbook and Guide 1911,Â and it includes this map of Old Portsmouth showing its many barracks.
You can seeÂ Â Cambridge Barracks, now Portsmouth Grammar School;Â Clarence Barracks now demolishedÂ withÂ housing on the site, and Victoria Barracks mostly demolished but part remains and houses Portsmouth Museum. In Broad Street can be seen Point Barracks.
Other points of interest are Highbury Street when it crossed Warblington Street and went as far as Gunwharf Road. To the top is St George's Square but it was behindÂ the church. Above '˜Park' in Park Road is a turntable beside the railway line east of Portsmouth Harbour station.
'¢Â My colleague Paul Costen,Â an expert in photography whoÂ has repaired many torn picturesÂ in his Waterlooville studio,Â has launched a new venture producing photographic mugs. You can have a relation, football team, pet dog or cat put on to your favourite drinking vessel. You may have a friend or relation serving in HMS Queen Elizabeth or any other ship.Â ContactÂ Paul at 3, Highfield Parade, WaterloovilleÂ on (023) 9225 0246.
'¢Â One last photograph from the 1974 Â Portsmouth Carnival. Here we see The NewsÂ Newshound mascot in the procession handing out free copies of the papers. Kevin Munks, who owns the photo saysÂ he was scared witless by the frightful creature.