- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Maurice Westcott
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 December 2005
I was 6 years old when war broke out, living at 22 Cotehele Avenue, Plymouth and attending Cattedown Primary School. We lived in the upstairs flat with Mr and Mrs Martin living below.
Mr Martin was soon called up for the army while my father because of his age joined the ARP. He drove an ambulance and also during the blitz on Plymouth helped to rescue people from the bombed buildings.
At the outset of war I continued at school until one night it was fire bombed and the school was gutted. Most of the children then were transferred to Prince Rock Primary School. Also nearly all the families on our road had built Anderson Shelters in the back yard and when the bombing started our families spent most nights in the shelter. The raids also took place during the day time and the school children took shelter in large community shelters built in the school yard.
One day, probably about 1940 our gang of five lads were going home from school when a German bomber swooped down on us and proceeded to machine gun us (as we thought) but it was probably aiming at the barrage balloon emplacement at the top of our road in Astors playing field which also had some Ack Ack guns nearby.
As a result of using the Anderson shelters my mother contracted pleurisy and we were evacuated to Weir Quay near Bere Alston and billeted with Lady Thistleton Dyer at her large cottage with some other evacuees from London. Because the schools in Bere Alston were full we were taught the three Rs by our parents.
After about 9 months we returned to a bungalow at Billacombe near Plymouth and I joined the primary school at Hooe. The headmaster taught the senior class of 10 to 11 year olds to bring them up to a standard for taking the 11 plus grammar school exam for entry to Plympton grammar school. By now the air raids and the devastation to Plymouth had virtually ceased and near our home at Stag Lodge was an American Arm Base. Near D day we waved goodbye to these very friendly GI service men.
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a member of the BBC Radio Shropshire CSV Action Desk and has been added to the site with Maurice Westcott's permission. Mr Westcott fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.