This 1919 image shows RAF cadets outside of their boarding house at 20 Wellington Square, Hastings. They were in Hastings for part of their training programme. The source of the original photograph, blog “That’s nothing compared to Passchendaele“, states that the cadets went through a fitness regime on the Downs and swam in the sea. The writer’s grandfather, Jack Wilson, is the man holding the cane in the picture. He served as a machine gunner during the war before transferring to the RAF.
It seems odd today that the RAF would send cadets to Hastings. However, there was once an aerodrome at Bulverhythe. The history of it is sketchy and it can’t be certain that it existed in 1919. This forum discussion seems to be the best source of history for it. And there is a single photograph. Interestingly there were plans to turn the aerodrome into a race track. In the end they used the land for a public tip and football pitches. Does that say something about the ambitions of our town planners?
20 Wellington Square is now home to Bridgeford & Co, a residential management agency.
The two photographs used to create the image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.
This image is part ofÂ a series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.