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“We enjoyed it … we were young”

by threecountiesaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Dorothy Munford’s story (born 1931)
Location of story: 
Devonshire Road, Mill Hill
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
20 June 2005

'This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Ruth Jeavons for Three Counties Action on behalf of Dorothy Munford and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.’

We all had Anderson shelters in the garden. We were three children. Our next-door neighbour lived alone and had one. Ours had planks across as they filled up with water. One day we heard cries for help from next door. The old girl from next door had fallen in. We laughed. Couldn’t take it seriously.

We used to pick up red hot shrapnel from the doodlebugs. It was horrible when the sirens went off. It was when they went quiet that you got worried. The Welsh Harp (reservoir) was bombed. We had an aunt evacuated from there after the bombs fell. She came to live with us.

We grew all our own food and kept chickens. Had a battery for them with the eggs rolling down the chute. Neighbours used to save up their scraps for the chickens and we made a mash — potatoe peelings. They were Rhode Island Reds and we used to preserve the eggs in waterglass. Reconstituted eggs were lovely. My mother used to make “dough boys” — flour and water mixed up with a pinch of salt and fried in dripping. We used to toast them in front of the fire with a long fork.

We had a neighbour who made clothes and later I had a 21st birthday party. I went to Dollis School primary and then Orange Hill. When we went down into the air raid shelter we had a quarter pound of chocolate. It was good fun — when you were young.

My husband escorted Germans to their trials after the war. He took them from Russia to Austria. My father was in the Reserves. Mother had to take in lodgers from the barracks in Mill Hill. We were evacuated to Scarborough, near Scalby. My brother, sister and I were split up. The house is still there. It was good fun at the edge of the moors. Beautiful. We went to the High School there. It was very nice and peaceful.

We had a grandmother living in West Mersea in Essex and used to go there for 6 week summer holidays. (Petrol was scarce so if you made a journey you made the most of it.) My mother used to give us half a crown a week between the three of us for toothpaste and sweets. I had my first bike when I was 11.
We didn’t have any money, but we had a bit of fun. We had more freedom then. We were lucky.

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