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W on sea

Map of Walmington-on-Sea

Walmington-on-Sea was a seaside town. Located on the channel coast of England, it was part of the national "front line" following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk during the Second World War.

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Thetford, where Dad’s army was filmed. Walmington on sea was based on Thetford. They are broadly similar in appearance.

Walmington-on-Sea

Thetford high street

AmenitiesEdit

Walmington-on-Sea had a pleasure pier, with a 20-foot-wide gap (6.1 m) blown in the middle to prevent it from being used as a landing stage by invading forces. The beach is lined with barbed wire and other defences, including mines, pill boxes and anti-tank blocks.

There was a sweet shop, The Novelty Rock Emporium, at least one bank (Swallow Bank, run by George Mainwaring), the Marigold tea-rooms, Anne's Pantry, the Dutch Oven, a butcher's shop, greengrocer's, undertaker's and numerous pubs including the Red Lion, which all suggest it was a reasonably-sized place. Like most British towns, it also had a church, Saint Aldhelm's, with a hall next door which was used for community acts such as putting on a Christmas pantomime and a place for the sea scouts to parade.

LocationEdit

It is never specified where the town is, and the clues given are contradictory. There are frequent references to Eastbourne, which is also on the same train line (My Brother and I), as well as to Hastings; this points to a location in East Sussex, with some suggesting that it could be based on Bexhill-on-Sea, although Bexhill has no pier. On the other hand, the platoon's cap badges clearly show the county symbol of Kent. Deal has been suggested since it has a pier and is next to Walmer: possibly the inspiration for the name "Walmington". Another suggestion is the town of Wilmington in Kent.

In The Day the Balloon Went Up an army map shows Walmington is between Eastbourne and Hastings, suggesting the location is based on Bexhill On Sea.

Birchington on Sea on the North Kent coast is another credible inspiration, especially since its neighbouring town is Westgate, a name very reminiscent of the Walmington platoons rivals in Eastgate.

List of locationsEdit

The following is a list of locations within Walmington-on-Sea taken from Bill Pertwee's book The Making of a Television Legend. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Notable ResidentsEdit

Resident Job
George Mainwaring Bank Manger
Arthur Wilson Bank Clerk
Jack Jones Butcher
Frank Pike Office Boy
Joe Walker Spiv
James Frazer Undertaker
Charles Godfrey Retired
William Hodges Greengrocer
Timothy Farthing Vicar

Maurice Yeatman

Verger

Sidney Blewett

Handyman
Private Sponge Sheep Farmer

Claude Gordon

Town Clerk
Private Bracewell Unknown
Private Desmond Unknown

Police Force Edit

When Captain Mainwaring placed the town under martial law, the police protested that they should take charge instead.

Members Edit

  • Inspector Baker
  • An Unnamed Sergeant
  • Constable Dick
  • Constable George

Behind the scenesEdit

  • In reality, outdoor TV scenes were filmed at Thetford, an inland town in Norfolk, thus giving no clue as to the scriptwriters' preferences.
  • Brandon railway station was used for exterior shots of Walmington-on-Sea railway station, while the platforms of Weybourne Station on the preserved North Norfolk Railway (a popular heritage steam railway) stood in for the platforms at Walmington-on-Sea station in the episode "The Royal Train".
  • The 1971 film moved location to Chalfont St Giles, even further from the coast.
  • In a book on Dad's Army, Perry and Croft described the spirit of Walmington:

“It is only a little place. People with not too much money can retire there to spend their declining years in small houses and bungalows. In happier times, a string of neat comfortable Georgian guest houses could accommodate well-mannered families during the summer months. Mother and father could listen to the band while the children played on the fine clean sand, or the whole family could watch the Pierrots. Hopeful fishermen dangled their lines from the Pier. Stones Amusement Arcade housed some slot machines where for a penny you could watch a fireman slide up a ladder to rescue a woman from a burning house or see a murderer hanged or a French aristocrat guillotined.

The Novelty Rock Emporium turned out crisp mint rock and giant humbugs. But all that is gone now. The Pier has a twenty-foot gap in the middle, the beach bristles with barbed wire, criss-crossed scaffolding, pill boxes and concrete anti-tank blocks. Stead and Simpsons and Timothy Whites still carry on — so do Jones the Butcher, Frazer the undertaker, Hodges the Greengrocer and the Marigold Tea Rooms and Mr Mainwaring’s Bank.

But the threat across the channel is never far from their thoughts. Hitler is there with all his military might and make no mistake about it, when he launches his attack against Britain, Walmington-on-Sea will be in the Front line.”

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