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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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"SOLDIERS ON THE DOORSTEP"

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Shelagh Morgan, Elsie O'Connell, Sergeant Hepburn
Location of story: 
Sanderstead, Surrey
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4661200
Contributed on: 
02 August 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by a volunteer from the BBC Southern Counties on behalf of Shelagh Morgan and has been added to the site with her permission. Shelagh Morgan fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

Some time in 1940, my mother arrived home from shopping to find several soldiers and a dog sitting on our doorstep. The Tank Corps had arrived in our road!

We only had three bedrooms in our house, but she took in three of the men. I remember there was Sergeant Hepburn, and a Corporal and a Private. Their headquarters were a few doors down our road, in an empty house. There was a great deal of activity as tanks were parked outside the house, and there was lots of coming and going.

Sergeant Hepburn was in charge of the company mascot — a huge St Bernard dog called Butch. The dog would often come to the house and I remember at Christmas he ate all the mince pies! They had been left on the kitchen table which was at head height to him, and the temptation was too much.

Sergeant Hepburn and his comrades gave us a wonderful Christmas that year. They brought indoor fireworks, and they would often give us extra in the way of food and chocolate from their rations.

I cannot remember how long they remained with us, but we were saddened when they all suddenly departed, presumably overseas.

They were kind and they made us laugh.

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