Bertie Bardell's Memories of Benfleet

From school days to wartime bombs and search lights on Boyce Hill.

Bertie Bardell talks about his life in Benfleet, he was born at the top of Bread and Cheese Hill over 80 years ago.  He talks of the scrapes he got into as a young lad, and the dangerous ‘games’ undertaken as a teenager during the early years of World War II, before Bertie joined the RAF in 1942.  

There are several recordings about the early 1930’s and 1940’s, and some pictures, including one of the class group of Thundersley Council School from his childhood.



Also look at The Bardell Family for more pictures and the  Bread and Cheese Hill Tea Shop.


Thundersley Council School, Hart Road, 1930's
Bertie Bardell
Fun and games with steam trains
How Bertie lost his school cap. 2 minutes
Crossing Benfleet Creek
From using the stepping stones, rowing boats until finally there was a bridge across the creek. 2 minutes
Wartime, a young man's bravado.
Watching magnetic mines being laid in the Thames, a plane crash in Pitsea marshes and why a young man would take a bomb to the cinema. 11 minutes
Air Training Corps at the Tarpots Hall 1940's
Bertie's wish to be a fighter ace, training at the ATC and the dances they held in the hall at Tarpots. 7 mins Approx
Dog fights, barrage balloons and flying
Bertie joins the RAF in 1942 age 18yrs. 8 minutes
Invasion precautions, anti tank ditches, search lights and glider traps.
Description of a night spent in an air raid shelter in the garden, and the defences in the local area should Germany invade. 5 minutes


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  • I was really interested in listening to Bertie Bardell’s recorded memories. It so happens that I was in the Tarpots ATC at the same time as he was although much younger. I am in the process of writing an article about what has been described as “Circles of Lights” in the Echo newspaper some years ago. We actually had one constructed opposite our house in Pound Lane, North Benfleet at the intersection of Hall Road in 1939/40. 

    By Peter Watts (21/02/2012)

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