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Stories from Somerset

by hugh_sexey_school

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Alan Banwell Alfred Morley
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 May 2004

Our thanks go to the pupils of Hugh Sexey School in Blackford, Somerset, who collected and prepared these stories with the help of local war veterans. The authors are credited at the end of each story.

Mr. Alfred Morley was delayed from joining the forces due to two hernia operations. He had married his wife about one year before the war, but when the war started in 1939 they converted their outside toilet to an air raid shelter. To protect
their heads they each wore a metal colander. The colanders were so cold lthat they wore tea cosies underneath to keep them slightly warmer. They were advised to put a damp blanket over the door to prevent poisonous gasses getting into the room. When the first ever air raid siren took place, Mr. Morley dashed out and threw a bucket of water over the blanket, but the water rebounded off the blanket and drenched him. so all the way through the air raid he sat there soaked through. Fortunately he had a bucket of whisky which helped warm him up.

Part of Mr. Morley's job in the RAF was to guide the aircraft into Gatwick airportwhen night flying. He gold the controller the code of the aircraft approaching. Then the controller would have to decide which plane to land first. One night, out of a group of aircraft wanting to land, there was one aircraft, which was not signalling correctly. The controller decided to land him last. When he eventually was given the go ahead, he approached perfectly and then opened fire. He turned out to be a German. In that horrible incident the German shot and killed half of the the ground crew and destroyed two British fighter planes.
on another occastion Mr. Morley was at Gatwick and his doughter was born. He was cycling in the dark to go on duty, he was so excited at having a daughter that he fell staight into a ditch full of green slime. It took hime an hour to clean himself up.

One year later Mr. Morley was called up into the air force, he trained at the RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire known as the cradle of the air force. After three months training he was posted to the RAF Gatwick. He tried to get leave as many times as possible. He hitch hiked from Cranwell to London, which was easy. Going back to Cranwell wasn't easy so he had to take the train in the dark; he handed in covered razor blades because they were the same size as a train ticket. Incidentally, nearly 100 other airmen did the same.

From Gatwick, Mr Morley was sent to the Far East. First of all he did jungle training in Sri Lanka. From there he was posted to a jungle out post where he spent a year and half in the jungle. He adopted a wildcat as a pet, which killed all the snakes that would have killed him.

when the war was finished he stayed on for another year. He told us that if he did not have a wife and child he would have stayed on for another 25 years.

By Briana Millet and Ben Lucas

Mr. Banwells story

Alan Banwell was born in 1929, he was 11 years old when the war broke out. His family had their own farm in Wedmore. His father was in charge of the home guard through the war and was awarded the MBE for his efforts. On their farm they grew barley and wheat in the fields, they also grew root vegetables like carrot and swede. They also made cider on the farm. Four generations of his family went to Hugh Sexey School and the headmaster at the time was Mr. Thomas. Alan had to leave school because his brother went into the navy where he beeped messages down to the subjarines on theharbour. He also went to Germany to cross the Rhine.
Throughout the war there were two bombs in Wedmore, one of the bombs went off at the golf course and one down the road from the golf course. In the war some rations were cheese, eggs, clothes, sugar, meat and petrol. The saddest thing was hearing about all the soldiers dying. The hardest thing was being up early and being out in the mud.
One thing Alan loved doing was cycling to Cheddar picture house to watch a film. When they cycled to school they had to wear long blue raincoats that went past their knees and had a belt around the waist and a cap. If they did not wear their caps they got into big trouble. There were lots of evacuees in the area and Alan made friends with quite a few of them. alan learned that being at war should never happen again.

By Alic Prouse, Fraser Ward, and Jess Gamlin

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Royal Air Force Category
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