Battle's Prisoner of War
P.O.W Heinrich Engelhard painted this unique picture into the White family autograph book before leaving the Camp.
Text reads: To the Memory of a Prisoner of War ...
Original, 11"x 8"signed water-colour, given to me by Heinrich as a farewell present on his return to Hamburg to resume civilian life in post-war West Germany. My dad tried to contact him on the Internet and by a message in a Hamburg Newspaper, without success.
Many Battle residents of a certain age will remember befriending the German "residents" of Normanhurst when they were eventually allowed the "freedom of Battle". At least one local girl married one of them. Where are they now ? Do you remember Heinrich Engelhard ? Write to me
Sadly, Normanhurst Court, built by Lord Brassey to resemble a French Chateau, and home of the Brassey family for many years, was demolished after World War Two having also played an important role in the First World War when a part of it was used as a Hospital
Heinrich (left) poses with Ivors Mum Mabel Mary White,and Cousin Bob Eldridge,in the garden outside the family home in Senlac Gardens
My dad received this email from Bob Champion in 2005
Yes indeed, Alices Husband, (BUD) was in the 8th Recce Unit as a dispatch rider but he was stationed at Normanhurst .Maybe the unit was split up and part were at the Abbey with the rest at Norhamhurst. I can`t remember much of the dates but Bud was in Europe after D_Day and was injured there.
There were in fact three bombs dropped that day. One landed on the news agents in the High Street ,and killed two people, (I think they were Peggy Tickers Parents).A second exploded in the fields behind the George Hotel. The third did indeed skid through the Abbey Gateway, landed up on the lawn in front of the main building but didn`t explode.
The story went round at the time that the sentry who was on guard just outside the entrance felt the fin of the bomb touch his webbing on his chest, no confirmation of this though.
The Canadian Engineers also took over the old bus garage opposite the cinema ,and used it as a vehicle repair workshop. Our gang, (Brother John, Jack Croft, Borneo Paine, Pip Wood used to hang around there qiute a bit scrounging fags or chocolate or whatever else might have been going. The Canadians were a generous bunch as I remember.
One incident there stands out in my mind and always will. One of the soldiers was using a grinder and the sparks set fire to an open can of petrol that was close. He calmly picked it up with a long pair of tongs, carried it to the entrance and poured it in the gutter. It had been raining, and the resulting firewall flowed down the gutter, and went down the drain outside the Hutchingson`s house.
Some of them were a bit mad too.
This mail was received from Hans in 2010
Hallo, for writing a book about the histoy of my family I looked online for the Normanhurst Court.
Your website is very interesting.
I am 85 years old and have been there, at last in Hurst Green, also as a POW till April 1948. My job was to be a waiter in the sergants mess inside the Court. During weekends the sergants went home to her families I took place many hours in a large-sized room inside the Court-Building. And there I was listening to Berlin-Radio and dreaming of the future. At last I had a little to work in the gypsum mine nearby. Starting the winch for rail cable.
I don't remember Heinrich Engelhard but I didn't forget, there was a young man how married a daughter of a gardening owner where he worked daily.
In 1966 - during Soccer World Championship I have been at last in Battle and missed the Normanhurst Court. There was only a smal old house, nearly 100 metres from the main road. Excuse any foults of the English. I never study it. All the best to you and for the website. Yours sincerely Hans.