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15 October 2014
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Wartime Neighbours

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Eileen Rosemary Komlosy (known as Peggy), Captain Denis Herbert Komlosy, and their children
Location of story: 
Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 October 2005

I was the twenty three year old wife of Captain Denis Komlosy and mother of our young family living in Chelmsford, Essex, when war broke out. Thinking of the war, what is foremost in my mind is not what we had to cope with — the bombs, rationing, waiting in queues, the constant worry of what to cook for meals to keep the children well and healthy, the sadness, the fear, the drone of the German planes making their way to bomb London, watching planes coming down in flames, thinking “Oh God, it’s somebody’s husband or son,” whichever side they were on. In spite of all this horror the thing that stays in my mind more than anything is an event during 1941 when, quite suddenly, we moved from Chelmsford to Shrewsbury.

Our sudden move to Shropshire was because of my husband Denis’s job; he was in the War Office, travelled all over England and had to change his base. We moved, having put our furniture in storage, and rented a furnished house. One evening the owner of the house phoned me to say he was coming the next morning to take all the furniture out of the house. What a shock! I was alone with my two small children and a baby and I had no idea where my husband was.

The morning came and the van arrived and took all the furniture away. I remember feeling so lost, standing in an empty house with two cots, two small, anxious children and a baby in her carry cot. What on earth was I going to do?

With tears running down my cheek I looked out of the window. Down the road people from almost every house were coming with chairs, a table, a bed, saucepans and china, baskets with all kinds of little things that make a home, everything I could possibly need. How wonderful!

This is what I remember: the real feeling of companionship, of friendship. Sharing was there in so many ways, you never felt you were alone. People stood together in wartime.

We didn’t get our own furniture for three months; with air raids things got shunted into railway sidings and forgotten.

So long as I live I will never forget my wonderful neighbours: wartime neighbours.

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Steve Gothard on behalf of Eileen Rosemary Komlosy and has been added to the site with her permission. Eileen fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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