Kevin Lear’s ‘LIFE’ story – DAD comes back to life – County Durham
Towards the end you get to see my dad talking about his experience during the war at Seaham Harbour We take a turning to the right, at the bottom of the bank in Easington Lane and head towards Seaham Harbour.
It was a journey I recall taking many times towards to coast and also where you could see coal mines what seemed like every few yards. They were certainly every couple of miles, but being young they never seemed to end. Seaham Harbour was also an area my dad covered as a traffic cop and I learned later in life, was also a station my dad’s dad worked as a policeman too, during world war two.
On arrival into Seaham Harbour from Easington direction, you will come across the ‘new’ police station (this is not the police station location I was shown as a boy). To the left of the station turning left and only a few yards up that road, on the right, there is a turning into the houses. Just 2 houses down from that junction is where my dad lived as a young boy (just as the war started).
He told me they would run down the front garden when they heard the air raid siren and hide in the shelter listening to the aircraft fly over to bomb the munition factories, such as the one in Birtley. He also went on to tell me that when they had finished their bombing raid the aircraft would fly back out of England via Seaham Harbour and drop the bombs they hadn’t used and also ‘straff’ the street with any ammunition they had left to make the aircraft lighter.
He was telling me this story some 60+ years after it had taken place and I could see in his eyes the sheer terror he could recall of those times. In fact, I also learned he had become so scared he was moved to Durham City, Framwellgate Moor, to live with his Aunt Maggie where he shared a bed with her children, head to toe in the same bed.
We really have no idea, do we, the horror our parents and grandparents lived through during that time in history. You can watch and listen to some of my dad’s story in the video.
As we head further down towards the seafront you turn right at the end and on your left, in front of you, there is a large building and that used to be the police station both my grandfather and father work from, but the plot thickens even more.
My dad, in 1967, rescued a boy and two girls who were trapped on the cliff face at Seaham and you can read the press cutting here. (he became, at the time of retirement at the age of 49, one of Britains bravest ‘bobbies’ with 4 life saving and bravery awards, the most any County Durham police officer had held).