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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Wartime memories of Turvey, Bedfordshire

by bedfordmuseum

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
memories of the late Mr. Francis Bailey with the permission of his widow Mrs. Joan Bailey
Location of story: 
Turvey, Bedfordshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 November 2005

“I was only a young lad during the war. I didn’t do anything because wasn’t old enough. I was sent away to a home for a few months before the war, a convalescent home in Maulden near Chelmsford. When war was more or less declared my dad came down to Maulden to bring me home in 1939. Then the war started. I went back to school. At the railway in Turvey there was a storage depot for the Army. Two bombs dropped at Middlepits and blew two ash trees clean out of the ground. One bomb dropped at Woodside (towards Crown Farm). We were ducked down below the windowsill in the bedroom and there was a big flash. My father thought it had dropped in the village and he said, “It looks to me it was in Carlton Road, I think it’s hit the buses!” but of course it hadn’t as it was further away than we thought it was. The next morning we went up to Woodside and there was a big crater, it was about 20 feet, it was still smoking. We went souvenir hunting looking for bits of shrapnel. It was a very big bomb. I found a piece that weighed exactly 2lbs.

The Turvey Special Constables used to be called into Bedford on a night to relieve the Bedford policemen, for the football matches and the like. During the war they used to patrol Turvey in pairs.

I joined the Air Training Corp in Olney when I was fifteen. We cycled to Olney twice a week for training and exercises. We had to leave when we were 18. As my main interest was with aircraft I joined the Royal Observer Corp (ROC) after failing my medical for the RAF in 1950. I was in the ROC for 42 years and was the Chief Observer for a number of them. I was responsible for many of the village lads joining - Chick Redman, John Bullard, Mick Wadsworth and Adrian Burley, to name a few. It was a government decision to disband the ROC in 1991 when it was felt that the Cold War was no longer a threat.”

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