- Contributed by
- Ian Parris
- People in story:
- Iris Sanders
- Location of story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 17 November 2003
You may be thinking that we in the villages during the war were just sitting quietly waiting. How wrong can you be?
That is what we were told to do, but things were very busy around us. A searchlight battery was brought to Hackleton Hill Farm, and some of the soldiers had dates with the village girls. A soldier’s camp was pitched just behind the church, and I remember seeing huge tanks parked in the Churchway. There was a large munitions dump in the forest where many local women worked, an air strip on the Brafield Road, and an underground ammunition dump on the Denton Road. There was a man powered fire engine belonged to the local A.R.P. and a large L.D.V. (local defence volunteers) company was formed, to which my husband belonged before he was called up. Everybody was doing something useful.
My husband built a very robust air raid shelter with a battery light inside in our garden at Piddington, and when the Germans came over to bomb Coventry we would stand in the garden watching them go over, then we had to go into the shelter as they dropped any left over bombs as they returned home.
In the ‘blacked out’ evenings, I would knit baby clothes and embroider cushion covers, chair backs and table cloths, which I was very proud to show off in our home after the war.
We occasionally witnessed a ‘dog fight’ in the air, and one or two bombs were dropped close by but no real damage was done.
Two village lads were killed, one a pilot and the other in the R.E’s. They were next door neighbours and friends of mine. Frank, the pilot, was just 18 (he faked his age at 16 to get into the air force) and was shot down over the channel. The other one, Jack, was 21 and stepped on a land mine, somewhere abroad.
No one knew when D-Day would be, but my husband who was in the R.E’s, was sent to Portsmouth, and was kept there for a few weeks and was not allowed home. On his last leave, he told me that he would only know a few days before they were due to go, and to let us know, he would parcel his ‘civvy’ shoes up and post them to us with no letter. In due course, a telegram came for me. This was a thing we all dreaded receiving, so my mother opened it for me. It was from my husband and simple said, “Don’t write to me until you hear from me again”. His shoes arrived the next day, so we knew that D-Day was imminent. It happened 3 days later.
A friend of ours was also at Portsmouth, and he came home a couple of times. My husband asked him how he managed to get past the guards, and he said “Oh I just get some sheet music, roll it up, put it under my arm, and tell the guards I am in the band and I can go anywhere”. So much for security.
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