Memories of Clive Hughes

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My name is Clive Hughes...I was at NCH Alverstoke  circa 1947-1952. Myself and a dozen or so other kids were housed in a large house opposite  Alverstoke Church - not sure what the house name was but I remember it was  covered in ivy and very old. The garden behind the house was approx  2.5acres [plenty of room for us kids to have adventures in]. As well as  open lawn areas there was woodland and ancient icehouse [possibly Georgian]  and a thatched ban at the far end of the property, down by the creek, which  was rented out to a guy who kept goats. The main body of NCH Alverstoke was  on the other side of the creek and closer to Stokes Bay - we seldom went  there because we had our own life where we were. I also went to  Stone Lane Junior School [the school is still there by the way - at least it  was in c1982 when I last visited Gosport]. Sorry to say I do not have any  photos from that period of my life and only have now vague memories of the  layout of the village of Alverstoke.

My mob, about a dozen of us, left NCH  Alverstoke in 1952, sometime after the Queen's coronation and moved to a  branch of NCH at St.Leonards-on-sea [HASTINGS] East Sussex. There we had a  better life - Hastings and St.Leonards-on-sea being then famous Sussex  resorts at the height of their fame - before we all discovered Viva Espana  in the 1970's. At Hastings I joined the Sea Cadets but the Navy was not my  calling and I joined the Army [Royal Signals] as a boy soldier [Junior  Leader] in 1957 aged 15. During my nearly nine years in the Army I saw  postings to Cyprus and then Germany and managed in between to see Malta and  most of Libya during various military exercises. Out of the Army in 1965  [aged 24] and fully trained up as a telegraph operator I found work in  London as a telegraphist with the Commerical Cable Company. Hard to believe  now, what with e-mail, mobile phones and the internet etc that people  [businesses] still sent messages across the Atlantic in the form of  telegrams - that was forty years ago.

Back to Alverstoke - I remember the Methodist church, I think located on the  road leading from the village to Stokes Bay with the statue of St.Francis  outside and a small fish pond - we went mostly to the larger Methodist  church in Gosport, cannot remember its exact location, but somewhere on the  way towards the Gosport ferry for Portsmouth.

When we travelled across from Gosport to Portsmouth on the ferry - there  always seemed to be lots of near naked boys down in the mud on the  Portsmouth side - they would root around and dive in the mud for pennies  thrown to them by ferry passengers. These boys were referred to as 'the  mud-larks' - what else. We used to go to Portsmouth for such as Navy Days,  which then were big because the RN was still very massive - not like the  three corvettes and a rowing boat we've got today.

Christmas at NCH Alverstoke looking back was a wonderful event and as you  experienced yourself a pillowcase full of goodies welcomed us on Christmas  morn'. The contents of our pillowcases had been donated by the good folk of  Gosport and beyond [Rotary Clubs etc]. The most important event for us kids  [boys especially] was the Christmas party laid on at HMS Haslar. The  sailors [matelots] always dressed as pirates, often wearing real RN  cutlasses - which natrually you were allowed to look at but not actually  touch. The movie Walt Disney's 'Treasure Island' came out in 1949 - we all  saw that - so naturally everyone wanted to be a pirate from then on. Shiver  me timbers Jim lad...Harrrrrr, etc.

Now that I am focused on Alverstoke, Gosport and Portsmouth - I can remember  a huge amount about my life there . The only teacher's name I can  remember at Stone Lane was a guy called Mr Framton - he probably got dragged  out of retirement during the war and was still teaching probably into his  70's because there was a shortage. Mr Framton was the games master [PE  Teacher of today]. My intro to soccer at Stone Lane was a heavy leather ball  being thrown into the middle of a muddy field populated by about sixty  yelling kids dressed not for sport but wearing ordinary shoes and jackets -  no one that I recall had sports kit - blimey. Well of course you could not  even get near the ball and only occasionally saw it when it got kicked high  in the air. I think this game is best described as murder-ball - more akin  to olde English village [middle ages] footerball and not really related to  soccer. It was the same game once described by Sam Johnson as fit only for a rude  mob.  Nothing changes then except the date.
There's lots more if you want it...Regards Clive

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