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- Sidney Orford
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- 18 March 2005
Sidney Orford told his story to Helen Kemp (CSV Volunteer for Thanet Libraries) at the Summerlands Nursing Home in Westgate on Sea, Kent.
I was born in Walworth, London but moved out when my father died due to gassing in the First World War. My mother was left with 6 of us to bring up and there was no help in those days.
In the 1930s I trained at Bolt Court in Central London and managed to get a City and Guilds qualification in photo litho. At the beginning of the war I was employed by the Air Ministry. It was a reserved occupation. I worked on photo litho which involved giving information to pilots on how to fly planes by way of producing notes explaining tail/front, backwards/forwards. I worked in London then Harrogate then back to London working just off the Strand.
I remember dreadful air raids, we hid anywhere. When the raids were over we went through the bomb sites to get to work. Buses ran all through the war. Once I boarded a bus, went upstairs, sat down but when I got off the bus I realised I was the only one upstairs because people thought you would be the first to get hit. There were incendiary bombs, buzz bombs, V1s and V2s and some bombs we thought “oh good they’ve gone over”, then suddenly they would turn and come back.
My brother and sister were Air Raid Wardens.
We accepted everything though and just got on with life. We were all in it together but there was always this wonderful “we’re going to beat them” spirit. The Fire Brigade were really wonderful and never sought praise.
I had great respect for Winston Churchill.
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