Thursday, 27 May 2010
Bigger and better boat story...
Today is a big day for thinking about this particular place.
Scrobs Senior was brought back with all the others; he rarely talked about it afterwards - except that I can always remember him telling me that they all got fed at Headcorn Station, just a few miles from here, and that he'd come back on one of the larger boats, and had to take his boots off, in case he had to swim for it!
We gave him a commemorative book on the evacuation in 1991, and he recognised several places and mentioned a few terse comments about what he'd done there, which was poignant, but we never really got the whole story!
In 1958, they made the film 'Dunkirk', and I was still at primary school in Rye, where the film makers took over 'The Strand', and several farms close by. The bridge (blown up in the film), was built specially, and we were all allowed to go down and watch some of the shooting. Many of the scenes are easily recognisable in the reconstructed harbour, (Rye Harbour is a village just a mile or so away, and wasn't included). The refugee shots were taken on farms near Camber, where the whole beach was commandeered for the sand shots! It is after all, just over The Channel from Dunkirk, and looks identical. I think the cafe building used as a hospital, is still there on the dunes and hasn't changed much either!
Us sprogs in our school macs, were so close to people like John Mills, we could hear them talking and joking, and one chum even tried to get his autograph, but didn't have a piece of paper!
The scene in the farm, where one of the escapees gets wounded, was shot on a farm in Udimore. We used to see them working from the school bus on the way in and then home in the afternoon! The buildings are exactly as they were then, and I can never look at them without rememembering the chaps hiding in the gap between two oasts, and shooting their way out of trouble. The bit where they left a wounded chum groaning in the orchard still haunts me!
The whole Scrobs family went to one the first showings in 'The Regent' cinema in Rye, and the place was packed for weeks!
May have to contact Lovefilm and change the order around...