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15 October 2014
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Sewing and Doping Mosquitos

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
frances Johnston
Location of story: 
Cambridge
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4623239
Contributed on: 
30 July 2005

SEWING AND DOPING MOSQUITO’S

My name is Frances Johnston I was about 17 when I worked at Marshall’s as a Fabric worker on the Mosquito’s, which were a small plane made from ply wood and madaplin similar to sail cloth but not as heavy. We used to have to climb on to the wing and tape the fabric taking extra care at the emergency exit, this had to be done to perfection incase the pilot need to parachute out. I was allowed a day off to help my mother with the washing one day while I was hanging out the washing there was a low flying plane, thinking it was a tigermoth they used to train the pilots, I looked up and saw a swastika and this was the plane that bombed Mill road it hit the cottages near the railway bridge sadly a soldier home on leave from the war was killed.
One evening after I’d been out with a friend, I was walking over Parker’s Piece going home this would have been about 11.30pm when a bomb was dropped on hills road, they were targeting the railways. At the beginning of the war they hit vicarage terrace where people were killed including a tiny baby.
I also made long stockings on a knitting machine for the sailors and submariners to wear. My neighbours had an evacuee’s little boy and his mother staying with them, they were from the East End. My father on seeing the little boy in the garden said "hello Tommy" the boy ran into the house saying mum that old bleeder called me Tommy, and that was the first time I’d heard that cockney phrase Some mornings as I cycled to work I would see the Lancaster bombers limping home, some would have only one propeller going and would be sending up flares. As they came home you could see you would see the flying fortress’s going out for the daylight raids WE were told that the plane that bombed hills road was shot down and the pilot captured he had been a graduate at kings college and we were told that Hitler didn’t want to damage Oxford or Cambridge as he intended to live in either one when he won the war
This story was submitted to the People's War Site by Paula Dolan of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Story Gatherer Team on behalf of Frances Johnston and has been added to the site with her permission the author fully understands the terms and conditions

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