VE Day 75th Anniversary and the Land Settlement Association

The LSA (Land Settlement Association) which started in 1936 played a major part during World War Two. The tenants were exempt from conscription because they were supplying the nation with food.

The Sidlesham Heritage Trail website has several references to local events that occurred during the war.

Sidlesham School Attendance Register records the names of evacuees at No 1, 12, No 39,  50 and 137 from Tooting, East Ham and Bexley Heath, under the care of Mrs Kemp, Mrs Dixon, etc. The children from No 45 were themselves ‘evacuated’ to Mutton Farm house next door when a bomb landed between the apple trees on the smallholding and blew the windows out of the house.

The photograph shows the Home Guard which was based at Keynor Hut, where the first tenants lived while their houses were being built. 14 have been identified, including John Bailey (No 22) who was awarded a certificate for service 12th June 1940 to 31st December 1944.

Canadian soldiers were billeted at Nos 11 & 88. David Litchfield at No 42 remembers the empty building being used by the American army preparing for D-Day. A Nissen hut still stands at No 104  “I remember distinctly, one of the ‘old boys’ at the time (1962) remarking that it housed a Canadian ant-aircraft gun crew. The gun itself was located in our back field (southern end). This was presumably to defend the thousands of Canadians mustering in the area for D-Day. (Stefan Bartkoviak).

Harry Wilkes (No 27) joined the navy when war broke out and the family then moved to Dartford. Harry died off Cromer in 1942 when HMS Vortigen was sunk. Horace Hook (No 78) also joined the navy and served on mine sweepers.

The heritage trail also charts the arrival of 100 unemployed miners and shipbuilders who came to Sidlesham from the north-east of England and Wales to begin new lives as market gardeners.

A LSA house was dismantled by the Museum team, which will be a future project. You can find out more here: wealddown.co.uk/land-settlement-association-house-safely-stored-at-museum/

Bill Martin, Sidlesham Heritage Trail