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Shot at in Sutton

by epsomandewelllhc

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Joy Durban (nee Douse)
Location of story: 
Sutton, Surrey
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

The author of this story has understood the rules and regulations of this site and has agreed that this story can be entered on the People’s War web site.

I was born in North London but in the war we were living in Sherbourne Road in Sutton. I was thirteen years old and was studying shorthand and typing at Greggs Shorthand College in Croydon, in fact I received my typing and shorthand certificate at 13 and a half years of age.

I used to go by bus to and from college in Croydon. I was coming home one day in the Summer of 1942, getting off the bus on the corner before Sutton Common Road when I saw a plane coming towards me, getting lower and lower. I saw the crosses on the wings so I knew it was a German plane. I though it was a Messerschmitt and, at first, I thought it might be crashing because it was getting lower and lower. As it came over the trees I heard the rat-tat-tat of guns and thought it was shooting at me. I ran towards home and fell in the door and the plane went on and flew away.

After I left Greggs College I was evacuated with my mother, sister, aunts and cousins — there were 12 of us in total — to Ruthin in North Wales. We all lived in a large empty house and some local people gave us furniture so we had something to sit and sleep on. I got a job in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, even though I wasn’t yet 14) because I was the only person there who could take shorthand.

I was also evacuated to Worthing, Exeter and Westbury in Wiltshire.

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