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Information regarding Sevenoaks during the Battle of Britain...

Discussion in 'Sevenoaks History' started by rmarkyates, Jul 25, 2009. Replies: 2 | Views: 7671

  1. rmarkyates

    rmarkyates New Member

    Information regarding Sevenoaks during the Battle of Britain...

    Hi all,

    I'm writing a fictional feature film set in Sevenoaks during the Battle of Britain for my university major at Bournemouth and I'm in pursuit of information regarding the area from Sept 1939 to Oct 1940. The story is finalised and will offer a unique and moving view on such an important time in history and of war itself. All I need is specific information to aid me in painting a realistic as possible portrait of the area, its history and locals, and specifically during the Battle of Britain. But unfortunately I don't live in Sevenoaks, have never visited the area and I don't have any relatives there. Internet research has proved useful but very limited.

    If anyone has information or stories regarding this time, they would be greatly appreciated and will go to a good cause. Like I said above the film's fictional story is complete and I'm just looking for information for accuracy on the town and specific details to the town's reactions/actions during the war and to enhance the overall area, its history and community spirit.

    For example, specific information would centre on:

    Shop names in the high street (butcher's etc),
    The inside of a typical 1930s house,
    Was there a searchlight situated in Knole Park or nearby?
    Where road blocks were situated,
    Were there any anti-aircraft stations in the area or pillboxes?
    The nearest Observer Corps station,
    The military camps and presence in Knole Park; when did it arrive and what did it consist of?
    Details on the railway, water pipes and other places being hit,
    The level of activity and military/volunteer presence; high/low
    Any information/details on the hay field/barn situated in Stone Street,
    Specific dogfights and crashes/bail outs.
    Stories like the Ghost of the Duchess of Cumberland and other local fables.
    Specific language, sayings and phrases.

    Information on specific places featured in the story would also be welcome. Places featured are; Riverhead, Sevenoaks high street, Knole Park, Godden Wood, Wildernesse Golf Course, Seal, Stone Street and the Weald.

    I have written a first draft of the script and have used restricted creative freedom on events within the story, but I’m looking to merge my fictional story with real events as much as possible. I'm open to incorporating real events or acts of persons within Sevenoaks as a minor element and to provide further authenticity. But the entire progressing story and its characters will remain fictional.

    If you know of anyone who lived through this time or anyone who has vivid family stories or information, I would greatly appreciate their time.

    Thanks for your time,

  2. manofkent398

    manofkent398 New Member

    Information regarding Sevenoaks during the Battle of Britain...

    Hi, Robert

    Several years ago when the book on the definitive history of Seal was being prepared, I enquired into the story of a wartime aircraft crash near Seal and was indebted to the late Judge Arnold Russell-Vick for information. Arnold was, I believe, a friend of the Schwind family and made regular visits to the site of the crash, particularly on the anniversary of the crash and on Remembrance Sunday.

    In September 2006 I submitted the following to the authors who were writing the book.

    "You may find the following data relating to the aircraft that crashed on Wildernesse golf course and which I have gleaned from various sources, useful in your War Memorial researches.

    Lionel Harold SCHWIND, known throughout as Harold, whose home was in Crowborough, East Sussex, had joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 1938, trained as a pilot at Wittering and qualified as a pilot and was commissioned. In 1940 he was a Flying Officer with No 213 Squadron Fighter Command, stationed near Exeter, but on occasion the squadron operated from Tangmere in Sussex.

    On 27 September 1940 Flying Officer Schwind was engaged with his squadron, piloting a Hurricane I, N2401, on an early morning patrol over southern England when they encountered a number of Messerschmitt Me109s near Gatwick airport. The squadron attacked the Me109s and early in the scrap that followed the aircraft that F/O Schwind was piloting was hit in the tail and set on fire. For some reason, not known, he was unable to bail out and shortly afterwards, at 09:25 hrs, crashed on the eastern edge of Chance Wood on Wildernesse golf course and was killed. His body was recovered and he was subsequently buried in the churchyard of the parish church at Crowborough.

    He has been referred to in a number of reports as Flight Lieutenant Schwind; the explanation for this is quite simple. His promotion to Flight Lieutenant had been recommended and approved on 3 September before he was killed, but was not gazetted until afterwards.

    It is now clear that he was British and neither German nor, as I had been led to believe, Polish. It is probable that this confusion has arisen from the spelling and/or the pronunciation of his name but his surname is, in fact, Austrian. There are still people named Schwind in the Exeter area.

    For the boys of the village the crash site was of great interest but was, nevertheless, treated with respect and reverence and it was unheard of for us to dig around the crater to recover pieces of the aircraft. For many years afterwards, the boys who were at Oak Bank School tended the crash site keeping it free from weeds and placing wild flowers gathered from the surrounding woodland at the foot of an adjacent beech tree. Even as recently as Ted Ainley’s leadership at Oak Bank this practice was continued."
  3. Martin Olney

    Martin Olney New Member

    I'm looking into the war time history of Knole and was wondering if you had found any information about Knole specifically.


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