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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Lucky Escape

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Sidney Chapman "Sid"
Location of story: 
Saffron Walden, Cambridge, Sawston and London
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
08 September 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from Radio Cambridgeshire Action Desk at Bircham House on behalf of Sid Chapman and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Chapman fully understands the sites terms and conditions.

It was 1942 and I was around 7 years old and we watch a German bomber who was hedge hopping — he was flying so low following the railway to dodge the radar, but he could have turned his guns on us as he was so low. He dropped bombs on the railways sidings in Cambridge, which is why he was following the railway. My father came home that morning from fire watching at Sawston mill and he said we shouldn’t have stopped and watched it as we could have got killed. He was very angry with us as he was a First World War veteran, we didn’t realise what could have happened, we were just excited to see the plane as you didn’t see German bombers very often. I think the plane go shot down afterwards, after dropping a few bombs in Cambridge.

I felt a bit effected by the war because of the rationing but we were lucky as we lived on a farm in Saffron Walden so we had good food. A pig was killed every so often but whatever we had we shared. I went to school in Sawston and went to college there too.

We sometimes went to London to visit my relations, Sid and Harry and they were in the Navy. I remember Sid saying he would rather be on a ship at sea during wartime than be in London during the Blitz. When we went to stay we used to go to a working mans club but on this night we decided not to go, when a landmine dropped on the club and it blew up on a timer a few hours later. People got killed and the club was flattened, but we were safe as we never went. The explosion shook the house anyway!

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