- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Grace Gurney
- Location of story:
- Watford, Herts
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 July 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War Site by Katie Holyoak, for Three Counties Action, on behalf of Grace Gurney, and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
Our shelter was joined up lengthwise with that of our neighbours’, which made it a bit more spacious. There was a double bed for my mum and Dad and my bother Ron and I each had single bunk beds. We had a door that we had to pull up tight so as not to show any light from the paraffin hurricane lamps that we had inside. We played card games and chatted. It was very cosy and warm with blankets, and Mum found a piece of carpet to cover the floor. We took flasks of hot tea and perhaps some biscuits, and then we all went to sleep until morning when we went indoors to get ready for school.
The German bombers seemed to concentrate on the railway lines which were near us, but the bombs were mostly incendiaries. These did not cause a very loud explosion but burst into flames and did not cause much damage in the open beside the railway lines as they were often doused (with sand) by the air raid wardens.
All men over the age of 18 had to serve in the armed forces and so my brother was “called up” in 1941 to join the army — The Royal Army Service Corps. He stayed in England for a while doing training then had to go to Tunisia to join in the fighting in North Africa. At one time we could not get lemons at home so he made a small wooden box, filled it with lemons, and sent it to us. We were very pleased. We kept in touch and every Sunday I wrote a letter to Ron and we received replies although he was not allowed to tell us where he was. He had one nasty experience; as he was driving his lorry across the desert he saw flames in the back and jumped out quickly as the lorry blew up!!
Some time after that he was posted to Italy where he remained until the end of the war. Incidentally, our present Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, served in the Women’s Army Corps during the war.
My Dad worked in London and he was often delayed because of the heavy bombing raids, which we called “the blitz”. There were many occasions when he told me he had to step over rubble and the firemen’s hosepipes which were criss crossed over the street whilst they tried to put out the fires caused by the previous nights raid
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