- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Flora Ann Richards, Cyril Leonard Richards
- Location of story:
- Forest Gate, London
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 22 September 2005
This story has been added by a CSV volunteer, Louise Evans, on behalf of the author, Ada Nora Richards, who is aware of the sites terms and conditons.
I married my husband, Cyril Richards, in 1937. In 1940 he was called up to join the Royal Artillery. He was then engaged to work with Field Marshall Montgomery and General Eisenhower.
When Montgomery and Eisenhower went across the Channel, my husband Cyril and a few others in the unit went with them as staff. Montgomery also had his caravan shipped out which ws used as his headquarters. My husband Cyril had signed the secrecy act, therefore could not tell me of his whereabouts.
During this time I was working for my mother-in-law, Flora Richards, who owned a small florist shop in Forest Gate, East London. My father-in-law, Frederick Richards, was an elderly, sick man who lived at home and I helped to care for, along with my mother in law. I used to go and collect the flowers for the shop, early mornings from Covent Garden. Despite the war, there were plenty of flowers.
While my husband wasi n France I contracted tuberculosis. He was given compassionate leave for seven days, although my doctor had recommended that he stay longer, so he took all his papers to the war office and they would not grant him anymore leave. While in the London hospital I knew I was pregnant with our first baby, but the doctors terminated it due to the tuberculosis. They also performed a sterilisation at the same time, without either my husbands' or my permission.
After this I went to convalese at a place in Reigate, Surrey. My husband went back to the war front with Montgomery and, after convalesing, I resumed work at my mother in laws florist shop. I did not see my husband again until after the war had finished.
Cyril never spoke much about his role in the war due to the secrecy act. One day the postman delivered an official letter for Cyril, from Field Marshall Montgomery, for his outstanding service, which I still have today, alongside his medals. Cyril went back to his original occupation, working for Gourmet & Co of Woolwich until he retired.
The house my mother in law rented at Forest Gate was hit by the blast of a bomb and demolished all one side of it. The authorities covered that side with tarpaulin and mother in law carried on living there.
I am 95 this year and have plenty of memories of this time. Of the 1st War I have a vague memory of my father pointing out a zeppelin. I could have been aged 2 or 3 but it is still clear in my mind. It reminded me of a huge cigar.
Another memory in the 2nd World War was that the invasion was planned in a flat in Edith Road, London.
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