- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Gerald Haywood, William Haywood (father)
- Location of story:
- Derby, UK.
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 23 August 2005
This story was submitted to the site by Louise Angell of the CSV Action desk at BBC Radio Derby on behalf of Gerald Haywood. The author understands the sites terms and conditions.
My name is Gerald Haywood and WW2 started 4 days after my 7th birthday. Within a few days I was evacuated from Derby to Ockbrook! After about 2 months my parents took me back home.
Sometime in November 1940 the sirens gave the air raid warning and we left our beds and retired to the air raid shelter in the back garden. German planes droned overhead and the 'ack ack' fired some shells but no bombs were dropped. Sometime during the night my father took me out into the road and pointed towards the south. Although it was still dark, the sky in the south was coloured red and orange and it was as if the sun was rising. We found out later that it was Coventry burning after it had been bombed by about 200 bomber planes. The remarkable thing about this is that Coventry is about 40 miles from Derby and yet the conflagration could be so clearly seen.
Sometime in 1943 during a school holiday, a friends father, who was a lorry driver, asked us if we would like to go with him to deliver some equioment to an American army base about 25 miles away. naturally we jumped at the chance. When we arrived, a sergeant took us to the mess where they gave us a huge chicken dinner with all the trimminfgs, and this was followed by a large dish of ice cream. It was one of the best meals I had in the 6 years of the war and illustrates the generosity of the American service personnel during the war.
September 13th 1944 was a sports afternoon for my class at school and i played football. After the game I walked home. I felt good, I had enjoyed the game and it was a lovely, sunny early autumn afternoon. Whe I arrived home it was unusually quiet and mother, father and my sister swere all there.I was told that my parents had received a telegram informing them that my brother was missing, presumed killed, following a daylight raid on Munster (Germany) on 12th September. Up to this time, in spite of the war, I had a very happy childhood. It was never to be the same again. I have never forgotten this incident or my brother, although this happenned over 60 years ago.
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