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15 October 2014
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Sheltering down the tube

by patricia august

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Contributed by 
patricia august
People in story: 
patricia August
Location of story: 
Somers Town in London
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
10 February 2004

My father had a shoe repair shop in Somers Town during the war and we lived over the shop.
One night during the blitz the front windows and door were blown out and there was a scramble of looters helping themselves to shoes, polish, lasts, anything in fact that they could carry away.
My father and the air-raid wardens put a stop to that ! But, even with the house boarded up my dad would not go down to the shelter although my mum, my two brothers, my sister and I went every night to the tube with our 'bundle' consisting of an a small eiderdown to lie on, we slept on the floor on the platform until, later on in the war we were allocated bunks.
The station we sheltered in was Leicester Square because Mum said our nearest one, King's Cross, was too rough !
We also took a large flask of cocoa and some mugs.
I was five when the war started and, to this day, the sound of the air-raid warning sends a chill up my spine.
Later us four children were evacuated to Northamptonshire but only stayed a few weeks because we were so homesick and afraid Mum and Dad would be killed in the blitz.
So Dad came and took us all home again, there was a lull in the bombing and we moved to Kentish Town but unfortunately a doodlebug fell nearby, in Clarence Way, many of our friends were killed.
My worst memory was going to school and one of our teachers turning up dressed in her fur coat. which was all she had been able to salvage from her bombed out house, I can still hear her sobs. Us kids were bewildered because we did not know what to say.
There are so many memories of the war.
The night the incendiary bomb came down the lift shaft, but luckily the lift was up at the time. We were covered in black smuts and debris but unhurt.
My second evacuation later on in the war, this time to South Wales, my Mum running up and down the platform pleading with the guards to find out where we were going !
Taking my 11 plus in the air-raid shelter.
Watching goggle-eyed as neighbours were dug out of the ruins of their houses.
The fun we had down the tube, singing songs. the cameraderie.
Catching measles, being taken to the Tottenham Fever Hospical, being put under the bed there when the warning sounded, we could not go down the shelter because we were infectious.
The Nurse running in screaming 'they have invaded the Balkans' (As a kid I had no idea what the Balkans were)!
When nearby houses were bombed people shovelled up their coal from the cellars, figuring that the occupants would have no further use for it.
The night Holy Trinity Church spire in Kentish Town took a direct hit and I think can still be seen with hald its spire missing.

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Message 1 - Sheltering down the tube

Posted on: 10 February 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear patricia

Your most welcome story deserves a wider audience. Unfortunately you have posted it to the General Home Front Research desk where it will only be seen by voluntary WW2 Rearchers like myself and a few others. A Research Desk is where you can ask questions about WW2 or search for long lost comrades, relatives, or friends; in sum, where you 'Ask a Question'.

Your story should be sent to the Editorial Desk. To do so now follow these instructions:

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Kind regards,


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