- Contributed by
- Haverhill (Suffolk) Library
- People in story:
- Jo Runham, Douglas Bader, and Betty Jennings, nee Runham
- Location of story:
- Whittlesford and Duxford, Cambridgeshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 21 October 2004
'This story was submitted to the People's War site by Madeline Tuck of the Suffolk Library and Heritage team on behalf of Betty Jennigs and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions'.
Children from Duxford aerodrome came to Whittlesford school, which I attended. I was nearly nine when the war broke out. We had to move houses because our house had been commandeered for troops. My father worked at Duxford as a civilian Batman and sometime during the war he looked after Douglas Bader. he used to help him remove his artificial legs so that he could bath. As children we used to count the spitfires out and then in again, seeing that sometimes some were missing. They would do a victory roll so that we knew that they had shot down an enemy plane. One would maybe limp home after the others. Then the Americans came and my father transferred to work for them, looking after a Doctor and a Colonel, as by then he was Head Batman. Troops were billeted on the lawn, the Desert Rats were there and there were tanks all on the road approaching the school. It was nothing to come out of the door and see a gun pointing at you! The Black Watch and Welsh Regiment were also there. We had a bomb drop about 50 yards from our house, which did'nt go off so they evacuated us for a week until they detonated it - we all went to my aunt in Little Shelford. After that there were Czech soldiers on the camp, followed by German POW's towards the end of the war. Glen Miller visisted Duxford during the time the Americans were thee, also the King. My father had the honour of putting the King's hat on him. I remember VE Day, we had a big bonfire on the recreation ground with free beer for all. On VJ Day all the pubs were open late.
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