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Mid-Bedfordshire - my family at war on the Home Front

by British Schools Museum

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
British Schools Museum
People in story: 
Mrs R Medland nee West.
Location of story: 
Mid-Bedfordshire (Langford area)
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A4172915
Contributed on: 
09 June 2005

Submitted by The British Schools Museum Hitchin on behalf of Mrs R Medland of Letchworth.
Both my late parents were nurses during the war in the Three Counties Hospital in Arlesey. They dealt with lots of patients including shell-shocked soldiers.
My father was on night duty on fire watch patrol in the Home Guard. My father-in-law was by day a lorry driver taking vegetables produce to Covent Garden London. He was in the Home Guard and was also on night duty, in spot-light patrol, There were two teams. They had to shine the lights into the sky and catch the enemy aircraft in the two beams. They all had rifles but they were only ever issued with one bullet, which had to be handed over on each change over of guard duty.
My mother-in-law’s mother was concerned about the noise of their rattling sash windows at night until she was told it was caused by the vibrations of the doodlebugs flying overhead.
My father grew lots of vegetables in their back garden. My mum always bottled and pickled fruit and veg to help us through the winter. I also remember her queuing up for lots of things. Sweets were a treat once a week if they had any in the shop. She would buy a quarter pound of toffees and share it between the three of us kids.
Most of my mum’s brothers worked on the land. My mother-in-law had to do permanent nights in an armament factory in Biggleswade. She was only excused out of this when she became pregnant with her first son.
One of my dad’s brothers was in the Air Force and for some time after the war he would continue to wear his fur-collared leather jacket. Also another of my dad’s brothers was in the fire brigade.
There was a stray bomb land on Langford Common when a returning enemy plane jettisoned his load. It damaged the chapel windows and left a big hole in the common ground. Years later the grass in the hole grew back very luscious and green.

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