World War Two at our School
Mrs Betty Buchanan (nee Greves) was a pupil at Campbell's Bay School, starting in March 1940. She lived in Castor Bay and her sister Val came to our school as well. Peter Terrace was put in after the war had finished. In 1940 the area now known as Kennedy Park was all scrub, until the army cleared it for the war. Just soldiers lived at the camp, but some soldiers and their families lived in Castor Bay.
This photo was taken in 1940 and is the house that Betty and Val lived in in Beach Road.
Mrs Buchanan remembers that two Campbell's Bay teachers went to war. Mr Hayden went in to the navy and Mr Rarity went in to the army. Mr Hayden's sister, Rose Hayden, was the dental nurse at Campbell's Bay School.
These are signatures of some of the teachers.
The Buchanans lived at 70 Beach Rd and there was a tank trap outside their house. They were supposed to lower the trap if the Japanese came.
Mrs Buchanan's sister remembers the day that there was a plane crash at Castor Bay. A trainee pilot and his instructor crashed when all the children were outside at playtime. They saw the plane disappear and after school, many of them rushed down to Castor Bay beach and saw all the police and emergency people drag the bodies in. The police shooed them away, but they still managed to watch. It was very exciting and everyone at school talked about it, although they were all sad that people had died.
Mrs Buchanan also remembers when an American fortress plane crashed with bombs on board, on June 19th 1942 at Whenuapai Air Base. The family heard the loud bang from their house.
Things were different during the war. It was before the Harbour Bridge was built, and there were no tarsealed roads, no sewage pipes and no town supply water in Campbell's Bay. They had water tanks and if it didn't rain for a while, they had no water, no baths - just a wash in a bowl or a swim at the beach. The night cart man came on Sunday nights and emptied their toilet can. He had a truck, but at this time, some night cart men still used a horse and cart.
The Buchanans had an outside toilet like everyone else. They always took a torch or a candle with them at night when they needed to use it, to make sure there were no bugs.
When the Government did road works in Beach Rd, Mrs Buchanan was paid by the road works to light lanterns, warning motorists of the danger.
When they went to town, they got a bus to Bayswater and then the ferry to town.
Their father was in the army and then in the navy. He did lots of volunteer work at the school and was on the School Committee. In the navy, he worked on the minesweepers as a cook.
Milk was delivered to Castor Bay by Mr Malcolm and his horse and cart. Hellebies Butchers in Milford would deliver your meat. Not many people had cars. People who had trucks had them taken by the army.
Local people who went to war were Freddie Stevens, who went into the army, and Roy Heathwaite who went away. Mr Greves was a 1st World War veteran. He fought in France and Belgium, and at the Battle of Somme.
As a child Mrs Buchanan just accepted the war, she didn't worry about it too much because it seemed a long way away. They watched all the troop ships come in with American soldiers.
Mrs Buchanan thinks Campbell's Bay School is a lot bigger now. She brought in her autograph book to show us the teachers' signatures and she had the signature of Commodore Parry from the ship Achilles.
She still lives on the North Shore and so does her sister Val.
Connor and Marco interviewed Mrs Buchanan at Campbell's Bay School in October 2003. She remembered lots of things to help us.
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