John's fondest memories however were of Mansands, he just loved it there the only trouble was they needed a jeep to gain access. Harry Bird rented all three cottages from Lord Churston possibly from the early '30's but sublet three of them the family living in the Watch House which still had gun racks on the wall. There were difficulties especailly with the toilet facilities and one of the worst jobs was emptying the 'thunder boxes' out the back, needless to say the garden was very fertile and green!
The Healeys took over the rent and had the cottages for about 20 years in their own name. They have always regretted giving up the lease. They paid £15 per month for all three and had to go in person to pay the money to 'Waterson' the agent on 'Lady Day' (?)
John used to keep lobster pots in the boat house, he used to catch quite a few and sell them to Brixham. fish market. He had a small boat with a sail and on calm days used to use the oars, he loved this. He used to drive up and down every day to get to work.
They decided to give it up after the roof was damaged badly one winter by an escaped convict from Princetown who had set up home there and virtually wrecked the place. He gained access through the roof. Iris couldn't bear to go back there and they left most of the fixtures and fittings in situ. In fact when Janice and Claire visited in 2001 they recognised some of the family furniture through the window including the iron bedstead!
Iris Thalia and Joy were brought up by Gertrude in Mansands and used to walk over the hill to school in Brixham. Harry Bird used to call in on a Friday to drop off the housekeeping money ( which was never enough ) and they used to have to carry all the shopping back from Brixham.
One day Dorothy visited and announced she was their mother - it was the biggest shock they had ever had in their lives!
During World War 2 the Coastguard Service was placed under the Ministry of Shipping (later the Ministry of War Transport) The "dawn patrol", used against smugglers in the 1840s, was re-introduced, although they now watched for spies and saboteurs, mine-laying aircraft and drifting mines. All Coast Guards wore battledress and carried rifles or sten-guns. To assist the regular officers more auxiliaries were recruited; by 1940 there were 5,000 of them. With some reluctance, responsibility was restored to the Trade department in 1945, which, after various name changes, is now the Department of Transport.
In 1901 Henry Campbell ( no relation to our Campbells ) was the Coast Guard living at no 1
There appeared to be 5 cottages at that time, with other Coastguards William Slaney no 2, Marwood Small no 3, John Connor no 4 and William Shute no 5, all described as Navy Men on the census living with their families.
William Bridle ( father in law aged 81 Master Mariner ) was at no 1 living with Henry Campbell
and his wife. This information was discovered by chance whilst researching the Rumsey family ( Norman Bird's wife) as one of William's daughters married a Rumsey. All a little bit of history about the cottages which the Bird Childs and Healey families loved so much.
Moored out in the bay in 1901 was the Hospital Ship 'Mayfly'
See Bird Homes and Businesses section for more information click to view