WHISPERING SMITH: Coming in on a wing and a prayer

Swingtime Sweethearts
Swingtime Sweethearts

Last week – on June 5, the day prior to the D-Day landings – the Honey Hush Club held a Remembrance Day dance with many of the dancers, myself included, turning up in uniform.

I dug out some of my RAFP outfit but only the hat and the brassard were still a bit of a fit, and only just.

Sussex Day

Sussex Day

A lot of Glenn Miller, swing, some sixties rock and roll and, of course, a nostalgic wartime song or two.

I recall being at Shoreham Airshow a year or two before the terrible disaster of the crashed Hawker Hunter, standing outside of a marquee where a duo of young ladies – the Swingtime Sweethearts – smartly dressed in WRAC uniforms, were singing Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer.

Just at that very moment there was an unexpected roar overhead as the memorial flight of a Hurricane, a Spitfire and a Lancaster Bomber flew in low across the edge of the field.

What a hush, tears flooded the eyes of grown men and mine among them, it was a moment I can tell you.

I felt a bit of that moment again on Tuesday when Colin Tenn, host and DJ, played Anne Shelton’s super, clear, slightly up-tempo version and I could see the lips of some dancers singing those long remembered and moving words.

A good night to dance in a beautifully decorated hall.


A COUPLE of weeks back, the Guardian newspaper brought out a four-page supplement titled Summer Seaside Special – saddened to see that there was no mention of Sussex or of Littlehampton.

Our town with its lovely, safe, child friendly east beach, our sandy west beach and some excellent eateries, all with a lovely river running through it that many other resorts would give their eye teeth to have.

Moving on to the centre of town though, not so attractive.

The summer sun has hatched out the shirtless, noisy, boozy brigade and a young cyclist was weaving his way one-handed down the pedestrianised High Street, one hand on the handle bars and the other clutching a beer can.

Add to that the tackily shuttered building of the NatWest Bank, and the closed down HSBC, the betting shops and three chemists it is not difficult to see why it might not have featured on the list.


BETTER things on the way though this summer, starting with Sussex Day on Saturday.

Lots of fine entertainment featured in and around the Dolphin public house and the clock tower.

A couple of lines from the whole of the charter which will be read by Bognor’s town crier at 10am state: “Let it be known, the people of Sussex will undertake responsibility for the general well being of our neighbours ... and, that people of Sussex shall be guardians of our wildlife.”

Two lines I very much approve of. See you there!


Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Littlehampton Gazette by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Littlehampton Gazette simply click here.