A schoolboy's tale

“Eastbourne Beach in summer 1939”

I was eight years old when I arrived at KHS in March 1939, having escaped the scourge of the swastika from my native Austria just before the start of WWII.

When the summer holidays started - there were still about 20 or so boys who had no place to go and were stuck on the Hill. Well, someone knew Mr. Gilbert who owned a Girl's Boarding School in Eastbourne (probably rich girls who had all gone home for the Summer). So, the boys who were stuck on the Hill were put on a Bus and driven down to Eastbourne. We were taken into one of the large dormitories where there were plenty of beds.


We could choose any bed we wanted and had to make it up. When I lay in the bed - I got a big THRILL - because I knew that the last one to sleep in that bed was a Girl!! Wow!!

In the morning - we looked at the beach and it was completely covered with Barbed Wire and obstacles to prevent Tanks etc. from landing. So we could not go and play on the beach.


So they drove us back to The Hill.

But, the punch line is that, when the real War started, the girls could not return to Mr. Gilbert's school- so he came to work as a Teacher at KHS. He was a very pleasant man. I hope he got his school back after the War.

Hans Leistina was at school 1939 to 1945


In this photo Hans with his good friend Melissa, Hans now lives in Seattle in the USA.


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