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War begins, bath ends

by Kent Libraries- Shepway District

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Kent Libraries- Shepway District
People in story: 
Stan Hook
Location of story: 
Isle of Dogs
Article ID: 
A1114011
Contributed on: 
18 July 2003

This is an extract from an interview with Stan Hook taped on 14/07/03 and added to the site with his permission by Rob Illingworth of the Folkestone Heritage Team
The interviewee fully understands the site's terms and conditions

Stan Hook was also a motorcycle messenger boy in the Auxiliary Fire Service. His account of the London Blitz, especially the bombing of Docklands and the City of London, has been published in "We Remember the Blitz" compiled by Frank and Joan Shaw.

I've not mentioned this anywhere but I was in the bath. It was about 5 O'clock on a saturday afternoon, September the 3rd I think it was, 1940. I lived in the slums of London and we had a tin bath. I was out there scrubbing my back and bathing myself as best I could and all of a sudden the sirens went. I thought, that's early tonight. Usually it's about 6 O'Clock, 7 O'Clock when the sirens go, but this particular evening they went and I thought, that's unusual. All of a sudden I heard this whistling noise and Crump! My hair absolutely shot 'cos this bomb fell about 50 yards away from the house and I thought, My Christ, that's a bomb! [Laughs] And then I don't remember getting dressed but I remember getting on my motorcycle and driving to [Millwall fire] station. I don't remember any of the bit before I arrived at the station. And it was absolute chaos. Fires were starting everywhere. But up until then it had been a phoney war.

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