War Time – Strange Goings-on over the Marsh
When I was about nine I used to visit my Mum and Dad in Yarmouth. I lived at the Toll Gate just outside Yarmouth with my Great Uncle, Gran, and Aunt Alice, and if it was dark I used to get a bus in Yarmouth Square and get off the bus right outside my Uncle George’s bungalow. I can’t quite remember why, I think I might have missed the bus, but one evening in the winter I had to walk back home. I did not mind the dark.
Because of the black-out in the war it was always dark with no lights on except for some natural light from the sky and sea. I walked past the Mount, a big house on the Common (not there any more), past a few yards with trees called the shrubbery. Then you came to a low hedge and you could see over the marsh. It was a fine night and you could see a bit.
As I got to this part I heard a drum drum of a plane’s engine. I did not know if it was a German plane or an English one, so I got under a tree and watched. You could just see the outline of a big plane flying low towards the marsh. It seemed to circle round the marsh and round Thorley Copse twice. It dropped two white flares and two red ones, then flew off. I ran as fast as possible in the dark. It only took a few minutes to get to the Toll Gate and home. I told my Great Uncle, who did fire watch. He went out and looked around but could not see anything. Next day when I went to Yarmouth I told my Dad. He said I must not talk about it as in the war you had to be careful what you said. But my mum told me afterwards he did go down to the police station, so I suppose he told them.
I’ve often wondered about this, and would love to know if anybody else saw it that night. I would love to hear about it. I think it must have been between seven and eight p.m.
Delia Whitehead nee Hunt b 1934