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A Child's Memory

by AlecWells

Contributed by 
AlecWells
People in story: 
Alec Wells
Location of story: 
Woodside Road, South Norwood, S.E.25
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3273536
Contributed on: 
14 November 2004

I was born in Mayday hospital in Croydon on the 1st June 1940. I have two very clear memories of the war and many of my time evacuated at a little village in Shropshire. My first vivid memory is of my Father coming home in a very rough uniform and he had a rifle leaning against the wall. I can remember that the trigger was about or just below my eye height. I can also remember sleeping underneath my parent’s bed with square wire net around me. This must have been about the same time.
My Father was in the Royal Engineers and served in North Africa, Egypt and Palestine. I know this from seeing photographs that have since been lost. My second clear memory that is really relevant was back in Woodside Road, South Norwood. I was sitting on the draining board in our scullery with my feet in the sink, with my Mother washing my legs. I must have been about 4 years old. The air raid siren went off but my mother continued to wash my knees. Eventually my mother carried me out down the garden path to the Anderson shelter. We heard a V1 Doodlebug and looked up to see it flying over us. It could not have been very high as it is etched in my memory as being quite big probably only a few hundred feet up.
I have a photograph of my sister and I taken outside our house, both of us tubby little children. My youngest son, now close to 40, on this evidence does not believe we had food rationing.
I also have a photograph of the victory party that was held in Woodside Road, this I cannot include because it is 6MB and cannot be reduced further and retain enough detail to identify people in it.

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