- Contributed by
- Wymondham Learning Centre
- People in story:
- Jean Turner
- Location of story:
- Streatham, London, and Warnham nr. Horsham
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 April 2005
This story was submitted to the BBC People’s War site by Wymondham Learning Centre on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understand the site's terms and conditions.
I was living in Streatham, London at the beginning of the war where my father worked as a policeman. He died earlier this year aged 97. He was a great hero and written about in the local paper when he rescued people from Paynes firework factory which caught fire after an explosion. He used to ride about on a motorbike.
I was evacuated out of London with my brother John to Warnham, near Horsham. We were sent by train, labelled and with gas masks, I was as ‘miserable as sin’ and did not want to go. The people we stayed with were not very nice and I cried all the year that we were there. If food was not eaten at one meal we had to eat it at the next one.
It was supposed to be safe there but there were dog fights overhead and we could see planes chasing each other. Men jumped out with parachutes and there were bits flying around. We saw Surrey docks on fire from the bedroom window. Father used to cycle to see us on his bike.
Our parents separated and Mum decided to go to Devon with my youngest brother Geoffrey who was still at home with her, he was a baby and 11 years younger than me. Our father said John and I should go too. Mum did not like it there so left us in Barnstaple, Devon and went off to Birmingham to work in a munitions factory.
I was left with Geoffrey with the Rodds and John was around the corner with the Acklands. I was there for about two years and then I went to join my mother in Birmingham and worked in a hospital. Mother remarried (Tommy) and then I had a new baby sister Marian — I was pleased about that. Tommy worked all round the country.
I went with my mother and the baby back to live in Paddington, London at age 15. I looked after the baby a lot as Mum had no interest in her. There were doodle bugs and rockets over us; I used to put the baby in a suitcase under the bed to keep her safe. We lived in a top floor flat with fan light windows and a flap to pull over to black them out. One day an incendiary bomb came through the fan light and caught fire, wardens put it out. We used to go to a shelter after that in the basement of a posh house not down in the tube station.
I went to work in a bakers and met a young man six years older than me who worked as a railway fireman. I got married at 17. My parents both remarried but always stayed friends.
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.