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How we survived

by threecountiesaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

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Leonard Bennet
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09 December 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War Site by Rachael Champion for Three Counties Action, on behalf of Leonard Bennet, and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I went to Grafton Road School, but on the 1st September 1939 I was evacuated. I went to Stevenage Waldock Farm and thoroughly enjoyed it, seeing as I had come from a tenement house in London. My mother and brother went to Huntingdon and my Father would collect him on Fridays in his car. Mrs Waldock was not happy with this arrangement, so he kept his son at home with him. In August 1940 I went back to Holloway to try and find a place in a school — I managed to fit back into the Hornsey Road School. I was very lucky.

On the 6th September there was a night raid — the dog barked before the warning. We went to the shelter with two other families. We stayed there from 6pm to 6am, and this happened about 163 times. There was a crater that was 70ft across and 5ft deep (and kids collected shrapnel and shell tops). Some friends died when the shelter actually lifted up. We collected buttons and badges. The parents were often more frightened than the children. At sometime around 1942 there was a lull in the fighting but then the doodlebugs started. That was frightening. One early morning at about 7am the back of our house was hit. The back came in, luckily the blackout curtains stopped the glass coming in. It was extremely loud and stunned us all.

In 1945 we started work on the bomb damage. The worst damage was when Smithfield market got hit. Two hundred people were killed and it was very traumatic.

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