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Sleeping in a Buick in Epping Forest

by Elizabeth Lister

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Elizabeth Lister
People in story: 
Doug Bukin
Location of story: 
East London
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War website by a volunteer from CSV Berkshire, Amy Williams, on behalf of Doug Bukin and has been added to the site with his permission. He fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

When the war was declared on 3rd September 1939 I was 10 years old. I lived in the east end of London with my parents. The bombing got heavier and more and more bombers were coming over. That's when we decided to go to my aunty Eva's house in Walthamstow about 4 miles from our house. We went there by tram. We went to my aunty's house because there was a big cellar under the house so it was safe to be there during the bombing.

It was a big coal cellar with the coal stored at one end. We used to settle down in there and try to get to sleep. The greatest noise during the bombing was from our own anti-aircraft guns; they went "bangbangbang" all the time.

Aunty Eva's husband, my uncle Harry, owned three garages. He couldn't get much petrol in those days, although he managed to get some petrol as he owned a car hire business.

Once or twice a week he would take us out to the countryside in one of the big Buick cars that he had as a hire car. We wouldn't go far, just into the countryside where it was peaceful and quiet so that we could get a night's sleep. It was only about ten miles into Epping Forest.

We'd all sleep in the car. You could still see the bombing going on. You really couldn't get a good night's sleep during a bombing raid as it was very disturbing. I don't know that we slept that much but at least it was peaceful and quiet, and that was quite a relief.

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