They fled the Soviet army and ended up in a choir at Havant - Nostalgia

Members of the eastern Europeans displaced persons choir who lived in the former HMS Daedalus naval camp at Bedhampton after the Second World War.
Members of the eastern Europeans displaced persons choir who lived in the former HMS Daedalus naval camp at Bedhampton after the Second World War.
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The current influx of eastern European workers is not the first time we have welcomed these nationalities to our shores.

At the end of the Second World War many people from the Baltic States, Ukraine and Poland ended up in this part of the country as displaced persons.

Blackfriars Road,  with Alpha Road on the right. We are looking  towards Greetham Street.

Blackfriars Road, with Alpha Road on the right. We are looking towards Greetham Street.

They had fled the westward march of the Russians to escape living under the hammer and sickle for the rest of their lives.

Many arrived at Havant railway station having travelled for days.

They were then marched to the former naval camp, HMS Daedalus III at Bedhampton, where they were settled into Nissen huts formerly used by sailors.

They were all well accepted by the local population but by 1950 most had departed to other parts of the country.

Lake Road looking west from the Tramway Arms. Picture: Tony West collection

Lake Road looking west from the Tramway Arms. Picture: Tony West collection

Many later organised themselves into a choir and in the photograph above we see several in national costume. They performed at many social events including at Portsmouth Guildhall.

• In the second picture we are in Portsmouth looking along Blackfriars Road from Somers Road towards Greetham Street and it is about 1946. Most of the shops had been bombed in the blitz on the city.

The gap a few doors along on the left is where a house took a direct hit.

I believe this was the home of the Keemer family whose daughter, Susan, 10, was killed in an air raid on March 10, 1940.

Most swimming and bathing  took place east of Clarence Pier but these boys have taken to the west of it.

Most swimming and bathing took place east of Clarence Pier but these boys have taken to the west of it.

Everything has  changed since those far off days of course, with modern housing on either side of the road. Alpha Road on the right has also disappeared into history.

Good to see the trolleybus wires back in action though.

• For those who remember the old Lake Road in Portsmouth the third picture will bring back memories.

There were so many pubs along the road that if the boys went on a pub crawl trying to drink a pint in them all it was impossible without getting 'as drunk as a skunk’ and most failed the challenge.

• The hand-tinted photograph is easily recognisable as it shows the popular Clarence Pier in the distance.

Remember, this was the original pier that was destroyed in the blitz.

It was not really what one might call a pier, more of an enlarged landing stage for boats and steamers. And as you can see, a paddle steamer has called to pick up passengers. In the foreground are some lads in the water giving their horse a watery treat.

Most people wanting to swim went to the far side of the pier as, I am told, it could be quite dangerous here when battleships departed and their wash caused waves to crash ashore.