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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Drain Pipes For Defences

by cambsaction

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Mike Stapleton
Location of story: 
Margate, Kent
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
09 May 2005

I was about 7 years old when the war started and Margate was in the front line. We had defences along the cliffs - but really all it was was 4 inch drain pipes, they were there as a decoy to make out to the German's that we had guns.

As I was not evacuated I managed to see most of the Battle of Britain flying over Margate - spitfires and German planes. We even saw flying bombs. As long as they moved you knew you were safe but if they stopped you dived for cover.

I used to see the aircraft several thousand feet up but sometimes you'd even used to get the odd one coming up the street. You'd see the dog fights going on, and you'd see German and allied bombers going over.

The one time it was really scary was when you were being bombed by aircraft, as you could hear them coming. With the V2 no one would worry as you were either hit or not! If you heard the bang they would come down, and it was over.

I was in South London for a lot of the war and we went through to 1944 without a window being broken. Then in 1944 we had everything taken out by a blast - but the plates on the dresser didn't even move! The rest of the house was in a state, the glass was out the windows, the front door was blown off its hinges and was halfway down the hallway. I suspect in many ways if you weren't in the middle of the bombing areas you weren't effected but we were only about 12 miles away from London.

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