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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Memories of Night-time Dogfights

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Jim Dean
Location of story: 
Shelford, Cambridgeshire
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7980401
Contributed on: 
22 December 2005

I was about 10 years old when war broke out and, to be honest, it was a pretty good time for a boy; there were all sorts of troops and equipment coming and going and there was always something happening in the village. The troops were stationed where the recreation ground is now and they also commandeered some of the big houses for officers’ quarters. Then the Americans came and they were stationed at Fowlmere so they used to come over for the dances in the old village hall.

There were so many RAF places round Cambridgeshire: Duxford, Waterbeach, Bourne and so on - where our planes were stationed. German planes would fly over and sirens would go most nights, I think When they bombed Coventry, planes were going over pretty well all night; in the early hours, they came back this way and the sky was dotted with them. One morning in May struck me more than anything: it was a brilliant morning and, about 5 or 6 o’clock, the German bombers were flying over quite low; the Spitfires were up, out of Duxford, and dogfights were happening right overhead. Although we were supposed to be in out shelters, we weren’t: we stood and watched. I suppose that we had no real responsibly as children and we could just watch but it was different for our parents who were concerned about the safety of the family.

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