Barbed wire beach defences. Details of screen shots from old films.
I was a young child during the Second
World War, and my parents took me to the seaside only on very rare occasions. Presumably my father was on leave
from the forces, or perhaps it was shortly
after the war. We went because my mother liked the sea air and liked to
watch the waves.
However, there was none of the traditional seaside fun for children. The beaches
were mined and barbed wire prevented entry.
Children in wartime Britain looking at a beach from behind barbed wire.
Detail from a photograph in the D-Day Museum.
The bucket and spade that the front girl is carrying would have been
the pre-war decorated metal sort from the 1930s, as shown in the following photo.
So there was no hope of making sand castles or paddling.
Once the war ended, it took a number of years to clear the beaches.
So young children of my generation never knew what it was like to play
on beaches or swim in the sea. Leisure centres, if they existed, were
closed for the duration of the war.
If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo,
I would be pleased to hear from you.
Children's decorated metal buckets for playing in the sand, 1930s, i.e.
before plastics became commonplace. (There were little or no new toys in the
austerity of 1940s wartime Britain.) Photographed in the Brighton Museum of Toys.