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Some things change and some remain the same

My thanks to Will Ward who pointed out that the house my grandfather used as his Regimental Aid Post while in Seaford, East Sussex England, during the spring of 1942 still stands and is relatively unchanged. The garage has been rebuilt and the yard looks much nicer, but otherwise, it is the same house. The bay window is still there, as is the wall along the sidewalk and the the little peaked roof over the front door. I love the convergence of past and present. It provides context and a connection to a place and a time. And when we get bulldozer happy and start knocking down all of our old buildings, we lose a sense of ourselves and our history. These buildings act as place markers. They’re a reminder of what has come before: In this case, Canadian soldiers using these houses along Downs View Road in Seaford as billets; home away from home. Here’s a selection of photos of my grandfather’s RAP, from both the present (courtesy of Google Streetview) and the past.

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Nov. 5, 1942 – air raid

Another sneak air rad on Seaford today at noon. Two houses completely blown down and several others very badly damaged. Three that we know of are killed.

Sept. 13, 1942

Left Fords right after lunch – caught a train for Paddington – taxi to Victoria then arrive at Seaford at 5:30. This evening I have sent off views of Lorna Doone Country to the children and will hit the hay.

Sept. 10, 1942

12:30 the shooting is over on the Range – this afternoon pack up. Some go tonight and the rest of us will go tomorrow. We will all be very glad to get back to Seaford. Timmy Cameron and I went out to Dunster Castle in my Gyp, then came home. John and I went downtown for a while this evening.

August 23, 1942

Memorial Service for the fallen in Seaford Parish Chapel. Harold phoned.

Aug. 10, 1942

Harold walked in this afternoon and informed me he wanted beds for himself and driver and supper and breakfast for both. He stayed the night with me and went home this morning. His visit was greatly enjoyed.

August 8, 1942

Hess is moving today – warned last night to report to holding Unit. We had a little send off for him today. Cal has taken the Blitz over to 2nd Div. H.Q. Will not be back until Tuesday night. on Friday night the F Troop load up on T.L.C. for another scheme. Do not know how long this one will last. Tonight after getting into bed, we had a peach of an air raid. Town lit up like the 4th of July – good fire works – on house knocked down and another set on fire, some deaths. Mistaken – no deaths, no injuries.