Winchester man pens memoir of early life in Morn Hill Downs army camp

Winchester man pens memoir of early life in army camp

Ernest Vickers pictured outside the Grand Hall with a bus that began running the year he moved from Morn Hill

The former army hut was knocked down in the 1930s

First published in Winchester Andover Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A WINCHESTER man has written a memoir chronicling his early life in an army hut on Morn Hill Downs.

Ernest Vickers, 94, who now lives in Maytree Close in Badger Farm, decided to take notes after he was interviewed by members of Winchester Rotary.

His short story contains the names of all his neighbours and features some notable sites from the district's past, including two water tanks, an old cinema, a training camp and the site at Morn Hill.

“I went to one of the Rotary meetings,” he said. “They found out I lived there and they started asking me questions about the things they didn’t know about Morn Hill so I thought I’d write it all down.”

Mr Vickers lived in the hut, which had no electric lighting or indoor toilets, with his parents, William and Florence, and four siblings, Frank, Eddie, Helen and stepbrother Arthur.

“Life in the bungalow was hard,” he said. “We were just outside Winchester boundary so every day we would have to walk from the hut to Easton School, from when I was five-years-old.

“There were no lights; we had oil lamps you see, and there was a big range in the kitchen we’d sit at. The toilet was outdoors and my father had to empty it on Thursdays and Saturdays. Bath night was Fridays. My father used to get the bath and mum used to do the water and the same water would be for all us children. My mum would feed us rabbits from the downs.”

Mr Vickers added: “I want people to know just how tough it was. I remember everything. It was really hard and I want Winchester to know how we lived.”

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