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15 October 2014
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The radio that walked as well as talked!

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
John Windmill and family
Location of story: 
Norwood, London
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 June 2005

I was five years old when the war started. My family and I lived on the ground floor of a three-storey, six-bedroom house in Norwood, near Crystal Palace. Like many others, I’m sure, my most vivid memory is of the bombing.

I think it was the winter of 1940 when, one evening, we heard the air raid warning go off. The bombing started almost immediately and we couldn’t get down to the shelter quick enough, so we all went under the stairs, which was quite a common thing during the war.

A massive bomb dropped in the back gardens of several four-storey houses, only about five hundred yards from our house. They were completely blown apart; there was nothing left in the morning, just a huge crater, everything had gone.

We had a battery radio, and the blast took it off the sideboard and across the living room floor to the doorway. It went through the doorway, performed an L-shape turn, and rattled down the hall. It finally came to a rest on the doormat inside the front door.

My father picked it up, and all that was broken on it was a bit of the veneer was chipped. He put it back on the sideboard, connected it up, and it worked fine!

The living room door had been blown off by the blast. We were told, “You’ve got to have a door there.” But my Dad couldn’t find an internal door, all he could find was a front door. So for the rest of the war our living room had a street door, with a knocker on it. Every time we went in the living room we knocked the knocker!

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Steve Gothard on behalf of John Windmill, and has been added to the site with his permission. John fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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