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A Childhood During the War.

by Surrey History Centre

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Surrey History Centre
People in story: 
Dulcie Lawrence (nee Corneck)
Location of story: 
East Sheen
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War website at Surrey History Centre on behalf of Dulcie Lawrence. It has been added to the site with the author's permission and she fully understands the site's terms and condidtions.

It was about 1943 and I was 5 years old. We lived in East Sheen, SW14, and I went to the Sacred Heart Convent, in Church Road, Barnes. I always went home for lunch, and my mother met me, and put me on the number 33 bus to return to school. The buses were brown for camouflage.

My legs were so short that I had to be helped on and off, and it was always the same conductor. This particular day, the siren went while I was on the bus, and when we got the to The Red Lion, Barnes, the conductor lifted me off, and told me to run as fast as my legs would go. I was by the church in Church Road, when I heard the droning of a plane. A women in a dark green coat grabbed me, and we lay in the gutter until all was quiet.

I then ran on to school to find the place deserted. I stood in the playground and screamed. A nun finally heard me, and took me into the cloakroom, which I then learnt was a reinforced air raid shelter.

My mother was told to never let me go to school alone again. She was not entirely at fault, as she had lived in Shanghai until May 1939, and was used to the Japanese flying low over our house. No bombs were dropped, and it was a way of life.


One night we were in the Morrison shleter in our kitchen, and my mother was cooking rock cakes with most of the week's rations. A neighbour was with us, the siren had gone, and the planes were noisy. My mother did not want to waste the cakes, and flew into the shelter as a bomb dropped close by. We were juggling hot cakes as as the ceiling came down and the windows came in!


My father was a ARP Warden. This night my mother decided to sleep upstairs in her bed. My brother and slept in the Morrison shelter (and I continued to do this until the shelter was removed). There was an awful raid, and two houses, 118 and 120 Palewell Park were destroyed, we were 108, and 2 in Richmond Park Road were destroyed . All our windows and ceilings came in, and my mother could not get out of her bedroom, as the doors had dropped. It was scary, and we were eventually dug out! These areas soon became allotments.


At the end of alternate roads were air raid shelters, to supply shelter when you were out shopping. I used to love it when the sirens went, and we piled into these shelters. The red cross were helping and we usually had a sing song, and sometimes a mug of soup.


My brother and I always wanted to know if there had been a raid in the night, so that we could collect shrapnel. When my parents moved in 1970, they found boxes of it in the loft.


My mother, brother and I were send to Tintagel, to a farm run by Mrs Brown. There were no bombs, but i was very miserable. On my fourth birthday, I went down the twisted straicase, lifted the latch on the kitchen to tell Mrs Brown that it was my birthday, and was told to get out of her b----- kitchen!

My mother decided to bring us home, as she preferred bombs to lettuce and junket!

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