Life in a nissan hut
I was born in 1945 at Danbury nursing home, I lived in Grays hall Orsett Hill for the first four years of my life, in a single room with my three brothers and sister. We moved to Purfleet camp and lived in a Nissan hut which was used to house German prisoners of war. We had no running water, gas or electricity. The toilet was an Elsan pan which was emptied from time to time by the council. Although they were hard times, they were good times. We used to earn money in several ways – selling kindling wood to the residents of the Uplands and Purfleet village, collecting rags and metal and taking them to Lowes or Wisbeys in the Broadway Grays.
I remember once unearthing an unexploded bomb. My mate and I tied it to our bike and took to the top of the chalk cliff and threw it over trying to get it to explode but couldn’t (thank god), otherwise I wouldn’t be telling this story. We kept it hidden for a few weeks until we got found out. The bomb squad were called in, and they blew it up with a controlled explosion. We watched from a safe distance. It was a massive blast.
We lived at the camp until 1955, when we were moved out to a four bedroom house in Lawrence Cottages Tilbury. I spent all my teenage years in Tilbury working in the docks for contractors Mowlems and Howards. I wasn’t a good boy and had lots of run-ins with the law until I grew up and realised I couldn’t win. I had a lot of fun whilst in Tilbury. Then I got married and moved back to Grays and have a family of my own, but my heart always remains in Tilbury. I’ve got friends and family still in Tilbury and love to visit them, and reminisce about the old days.