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Platform 13 Paddington

by threecountiesaction

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Joan and Albert Harvey
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09 December 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War Site by Rachael Champion for Three Counties Action, on behalf of Joan Harvey, and has been added to the site with permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was 20 and living in Windsor, working in the Civil Service where I met my husband at a dance in Victoria Barracks. He was a sergeant in the Grenadiers, and we met on Boxing Day in 1940. Our second meeting was at the New Year’s Eve dance when he was with his girlfriend. We met again at a dance in February — he was now single and waiting for me. He met my train everyday and I would walk with him, he would stay every evening till he had to go back to his barracks. Before they met he had put in to be a ‘gerks’. He was due to pass out at Sandhurst on 2nd October, and we were due to be married on the 3rd. Unfortunately he got appendicitis and was sent to Aldershot. We were married on the 17th October — when he was in the 2nd KEO Gerks. He was sent to Dehardun just two months after marriage in 1942. We had been planning for Christmas. I saw him off at Platform 13 at Paddington and didn’t see him again until July 1946.

Just before he came home, I gave up work in the Civil Service and worked at Garrison Engineer so I could prepare for him coming home.

On Monday I received a telegram saying when he was due to arrive, he was held up for a day. My mother wouldn’t let me meet him because there were too many military. It shouldn’t have been a telegram because he should have had money for a taxi to get home. “Anything to get him home.” He wasn’t used to rationing. He liked a glass of whiskey but I had to ration. He had to buy a general store as he had no Civilian training or career. He was 28 when he left after owning the shop for three years and our eldest daughter was born there, then our next, a boy, we then moved to Essex and had twins.

We felt the need to move out of London for the children’s benefit and for good schools and so on. Once in Essex we then had a second shop which was a Grocers/Drapery.

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