Sunday 20th June, 5-6pm – Shelters, shopping and shillings
David remembers using his school air raid shelter and will be explaining how different shelters like the one at Downs Junior School were built and used during the war. As a young child David was immersed in the wartime routine and will be discussing what you could buy in the local shops, why some of the food on offer was not to everybody’s taste, and how you had to make every last shilling count.
David Pierce was born in Brighton in 1937 and he joined his brother at Coomb Road School during the war. Aged four, he remembers his father joining their neighbours on Carlisle Avenue to bolt together their Anderson Shelters and dig them into gardens. During the war David slept in their Morrison Shelter with his older brother and mother, and he remembers listening to planes flying overhead. His father worked locally at Alan West, an engineering company making switch gear for planes and submarines. It was Brighton’s biggest employer at the time, and David recalls seeing large numbers of women workers manning the machines during a visit to the factory in Moulsecoomb, when he visited to see the children’s entertainer at the Christmas party.
David recalls being sent to the grocers, ration book in hand, to get an advance of the following week’s tea rations for his mother. He remembers fondly the day he tasted a banana for the first time, and his gran asking Dewhursts for a Christmas chicken, only to be told they could have half a pig’s head. He recalls a trip to Bond Street with his father to get a piece of leather, which was then cut and nailed back onto his shoe on the kitchen floor.
When the war ended in 1945, David joined family and friends at the Coomb Road street party and remembers seeing the bonfire on West Street and a sailor sitting on top of the lamp post outside the Royal Albion Hotel. After the war David trained as a Chartered Surveyor working throughout his career at Braybons in Preston Road. In the 1960’s David joined the Brighton Lions, and later the Brighton Rotary Club to help raise money to support local and overseas charities.
Watch David as he describes the different types of domestic air raid shelters.