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15 October 2014
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A Doodlebug dropped in June 1944

by dianegerrard

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Contributed by 
dianegerrard
People in story: 
Bert Moger, Lou Moger and Diane Moger
Location of story: 
Stainash Crescent, Staines, Middlesex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4127410
Contributed on: 
28 May 2005

My Dad, Bert Moger, had cycled over to Harmondsworth to see my grandmother. He usually came home about 9.30 pm, but that night he was late and my mum, Lou, was worried. She had heard that a bomb had dropped near his route home, and by 9.50 she was frantic. When the siren went she put me to bed in our Anderson shelter and went to wait for Dad at our front door. At 9 years old I was quite used to sleeping in our shelter. Dad arrived home at 10.10 and they then weighed up the pros and cons as to whether to join me on their bunks. Fortunately they decided to come down at 10.20. The doodlebug dropped on the corner of our street at 10.25. I slept through it all and only woke up, in my dad's arms, when he was trying to climb over a huge pile of bricks and rubble in next door's garden. Our neighbours' house was the first one in the street and Dad was trying to get to the front of our street through their back garden. He managed to get there eventually, and took me across the road from our house to where there was a row of holly trees, edging the garden of a large house.
The trees were burning and I was crying with fright as my dad told me to be a brave girl and wait there while he went back for my mum. My mum had made her way into what was left of our house, climbed up the remains of the staircase in an attempt to find her engagement ring, and her new coat for which she had been saving all her clothing coupons! She found both.
The shops on the main road, with flats above them were all on fire, along with the garages attached which, I understand, housed Lagonda cars. My friend Victor lived in one of the flats. I never saw him again.
Mum and Dad went to join their neighbours to see who needed help, and to decide what was the best thing for me. They decided Mum should take me to stay with my maternal grandparents at Slough. During the rest of the night I remember people coming to supply us all with things we needed, and lots of cups of tea, while the firefighters got on with their work. We found out later that the large house opposite was practically demolished and of the 5 people who lived there, only the baby survived.
I think the first train to Slough was about 6 am. Mum told me to run to the platform and ask them to hold the train while she bought our tickets. We caught it just in time, but my mum was so embarrassed when we sat down. We were filthy from the dust and there was no water to wash and all our clothes were old ones. Mum used to keep spare clothes in an old tin bath under the stairs for just such an emergency. But I had grown and mine were too tight and short. Mum apologised to the occupants of our carriage and told them we had been bombed out (rather defiantly as I remember). But they were full of sympathy and she relaxed somewhat. When we arrived at Slough station she told me to run down the road to Gran's and let them know she was on her way. This I did, but the 6 o'clock news had let Gran, Grandad, Auntie Phyllis (Mum's sister), and Auntie Nellie (Gran's sister) know that 2 doodlebugs had dropped on Staines. When Auntie Nellie opened the door to me and couldn't see Mum, she fainted! Gran came then just in time to hear me say that Mum was coming down the street, and that yes, Dad was OK too.
I stayed with them for nearly a year, until our house was "made good". During this time my mum and dad stayed in rest centres along with all their neighbours whose houses were not habitable. They brought me back to Stainash Crescent when they were allotted a house just round the corner from our own. This they shared with our neighbours Rose and Ted Sylvester. They had lived in the first house in the street and I always called them Uncle Ted and Auntie Rose. They had no children, and "shared" my upbringing during the war years. Auntie Rose took me to primary school and met me after school when Mum was on shift work. Mum worked at Perrings helping to make the radios to go in the planes that my dad helped to make at Heston Aircraft.
We all stayed friends for the rest of our lives. My dad was rejected as medically unfit for active duty, so he joined the local Home Guard. He was only 47 when he died of a heart complaint in 1957. My mum was 91 when she died of old age in 2003. I write my memories of being bombed out because, like thousands of people who were children during the war, I want these events remembered for ever, so that all our grandchildren will know, and learn something from the knowing.

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - A Doodlebug dropped in June 1944

Posted on: 28 May 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear dianegerrard

A vivid story well told. It brings home the meaning of 'total war', a war in which the front line was everywhere.

Kind regards,

Peter

 

Message 2 - A Doodlebug dropped in June 1944

Posted on: 28 May 2005 by dianegerrard

Peter

Thank you for your kind words and observations. They encourage me to try to collect more memories to record. Thanks also for your interest.

Diane

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