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15 October 2014
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The Best Gerry Could Do

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Michael Papworth
Location of story: 
Bexley Heath
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5838924
Contributed on: 
21 September 2005

I got up one morning during the war and groaned to myself because it was a wet day and I knew I would have to wear my wellies. I had my porridge and Mum said “Don’t forget your boots ’cos it’s raining.” I grimaced and ate my porridge, and Dad went off to work. Mum did the washing up, and said “Go and put on your boots.” In my room I put on my Mac and my shoes, hoping that Mum would not notice. Fat chance! She must of heard the difference in the sound of boots and shoes, as she appeared at the door of the kitchen. I began the whining process, “Oh Mum, my feet get all hot and I can’t run…” When, RATATATATATATAT! Mum flew down the passage and picking me up almost threw me into the Morrison indoor shelter, as the Luftwaffe’s finest zoomed over head and into the distance.

Mum crawled out of the shelter wagging a finger at me. “You stay there,” she snapped, and going to the front door began a conversation with the neighbour across the road. I crawled out of the shelter and heard the neighbour say, “There must be a God I tell yer. There must be.” The street had been full of kids all going to my school who were all taken by surprise by the enemy plane, but had not had time to take cover. People were coming out of their houses expecting to find the street littered with tiny bodies, but the only casualties were the baker’s horse and the lady driver. The horse had collected either shrapnel or a lump of the road, and lay screaming horribly while the driver sat in her seat crying in shock.

As we ate our evening meal Mum told Dad about the attack. “I had to laugh,” she grinned. “The baker took cover under his silly little handcart”. Dad laughed and remarked, “Only one plane though. It dropped a bomb between here and the school, and killed three ducks in someone’s back yard. If that’s the best Gerry can do!”

This story was entered on the People’s War Website by Stuart Ross on behalf of Michael Papworth. Michael fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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