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Henry Sturman, a child of 1940s Holt


“From an early age, I remember always hearing the planes in the sky getting together. You couldn’t see them, but you could hear them. I could always remember my mother saying ‘there’s going to be a big raid on tonight’. The planes would all get together in this area to go across to Germany for the thousand bomber raids. You didn’t know exactly what was going on but the townspeople knew there was a big raid because of the sound of the droning.

There was a bomb that was dropped round the back of the Bakers business that never went off. I remember them taking the bomb out on a barrow from the yard. The next thing I remember is the bomb being on a four-wheel trolley at Gresham’s. Everybody was sticking stamps on it. For what reason, I don’t know.

Sarah Woodhouse - a young girl travelling to Holt in the 1940s


"When I was twelve my sister and I were allowed, on our own, to drive our grey pony Misty - who was broken to harness -  to Holt for the weekly market to sell  eggs and other bits and bobs. We just loved it but had one exciting moment to face each week because Misty had a mind of his own, loved water and would lie down in any stream to roll, as an automatic reaction to the cool feel on his legs.


There was an un-bridged ford just before the road from Cley that twisted uphill to Holt. We had to get him trotting fast round the last curve and make sure he broke into a full gallop before we reached the ford. This was so he couldn't jam on the brakes in time to drop to his knees, roll over in the water and break the shafts!"

David Sly-Jex, Holt


“A notable feature of the Byfords building in the 1940s were my grandmother‘s friends, the two ‘Miss Byfords’ sitting in their bay window observing and noting everything in Shirehall Plain.”

Don Copeman, aged 15 in 1945


“On VE Day we got a piano out of The Star pub on Fish Hill and everyone was drinking and dancing. I know 'cos I was there!”

Ruby Ellis, a young girl in 1941


“One afternoon I was biking home to Edgefield from the Orchard School. A field gun turned as I passed and it knocked my hat off. Lucky it was only my hat! I picked it up and carried on my way.”

George Rudd, a growing lad in the 1940s


"We had to dig trenches behind the school, our football pitch in fact. During the war we were supposed to be growing vegetables in a garden behind there as well."  


David Sly-Jex, Holt

"A high point for us kids in Holt High Street in the 40s was a tiny but exciting shop – ‘Miss Hall’s’ and its wonderful wonderland dedicated to sweets."

Thank you to Colin Rawlings of the Red Dot Gallery, Holt, for his hard work and dedication to compile our 1940s memories and quotes.


Holt is a town full of stories and tales from the 1940s era. The Holt 1940s Weekend Team caught up with a few of its residents for their recollections from that time...

Memories of 1940s Holt

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