33' "caravan" (house trailer) - Botesdale, Suffolk, UK - 1952

1952 b-w photo of our 33' house trailer in Botesdale, Suffolk chimney pot on house across Fen Lane vent for coal-burning water heater electric power pole weather vane across Fen Lane gate thru hedge to Fen Lane (later replaced with solid one) kitchen window (over sink) large main room window small main room window main room door section seam line main bedroom window my bedroom door high hedge more high hedge

(image map - move cursor over)

(1998 Snappy 3.0 capture with 8-mm camcorder from 127 negative on light box)

   The trailer was rented for the sum of £5 (then £1 = $ 2.82 US) a week.    
It was placed on the site for us and removed (in two pieces) after we had    
vacated it.                                                                  

   This is facing n.n.e. (note the chimney pot on the house across the street
to the left and the weather vane to the right).  We were able to get electric
power from the pole right there (though it had to be stepped down to 110-v   
from 220-v and the 50-Hz [cps then] didn't do well with our US phonograph    
turntable speed!)  Gas mantle lights were used before that was connected.    

   One time something boiled over on the electric stove and the circuit      
breaker didn't act quickly enough - blowing up the kwhr-meter on the outside 
pole!  The 1949 Stewart-Warner AM-FM-Phono console unit was heavily used to  
listen to the medium-wave AFN AM broadcasts from West Germany in the evenings
with Hit Parade, Dragnet, Ozzie and Harriet, etc.  Some daytime mw stations  
from France were noted, but I wasn't into DXing yet :<  (In fact, I was very 
puzzled that the radio listings in the newspaper had two BBCs.)              

   Running water was obtained from installing a long, buried line running    
off to the right to the main street.  We were not so lucky with any sewage   
connection though!  The kitchen sink drained into a shallow covered pit in   
the field not too far away from the dwelling whilst the other wastes (in     
creosote) were transported periodically to large 6-foot deep excavations (dug
far removed for that purpose) and well buried.                               

   The leftmost window is over the kitchen sink, the middle two windows are  
for the main room, and the other one for one bedroom.  My room had windows on
the right end and the other side (as well as that separate door!)            

   This all survived that Jan 1953 North Sea Storm winds (though the shelter 
from that hedge looks less than I'd thought at the time!).  My Mom's main    
worry was that some roofing tile/slate might come flying and slice right thru
those rather flimsy trailer walls.  Some of the other smaller units in a park
closer to the base did flip over.                                            

This YouTube video from 2007 may well show that electric pole (or its descendant) at 2:36! Also, a long-standing "mystery" from the era there has just been "solved". I was a (distant) witness to an RAF Meteor crash that took place one sunny afternoon. I had been watching some planes (long thought to be US F86s and RAF craft in a then-common high-altitude "dogfight") when I noticed one of them suddenly going into an abnormal rapid rolling motion. The next thing that I saw was a parachute descending and a wisp of smoke off to the n.e. (I don't remember any impact sounds being heard). Theodore Cutting (the son of our landlord) worked for the Bury Free Press and was soon quickly off on his bicycle in that direction to get himself a possible news "scoop"! I do later recall a newspaper photo of some non-descript wreckage in a what looked to be a muddy, plowed farm field. For years on the Web (since 1997) I had been trying to find any details of this crash (and had been told to perhaps to write to the AAIB there). In the span of a few hours this past weekend (with the usual deadends) suddenly everything fell into place! First, I got the date and some details here. After all of now-nearly 59 years, that filled a tremendous gap as I had not known until then even what year it had been. But there was far more to come. Using the Squad. Number and date after a little more time with Google I was utterly astonished to find a first-hand account of it all by the pilot here! Reading all the drama of that long-ago day had a very (unexpected) strong emotional impact on me. So, two additional bits remain unknown: (1) how far was I from the impact site and (2) is that pilot still around. I've contacted the ejector site Webmaster and found a few tantalizing leads on the Web re the latter.


Created: December 12, 2001
Updated: November 23, 2011