- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Ken, Marjorie, Ruth and Susan Langridge
- Location of story:
- West Byfleet, Surrey.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 28 May 2004
I was born in October 1942 and you may think I was too young to remember anything of WW2, but I have some vivid memories and share them here.
I lived in West Byfleet in Surrey in the United Kingdom. I was born in the front room of my home with the local mid-wife in attendance. Of course, I don’t remember the birth!
My father worked in the local aircraft factory cycling to and from work every day and he was also our road air raid warden, so gas masks were always at the ready.
My earliest memories are of the brick air raid shelters that my mother and myself passed every time we went to the local shops to use the coupons in the ration book. I seem to remember that the cupboard under the stairs in our home was our air raid shelter. Who can forget the wail of the siren signalling an ‘attack’ and then the relief of the ‘all clear’ siren.
My father purchased an additional piece of land adjoining our garden in which he erected a chicken coup and run. From the purchased chickens we had a fresh daily supply of eggs, so no further need for powdered egg! Vegetables were grown on the rest of the land.
In a road adjoining our road, there were soldiers living in barracks and my father and mother (now deceased) who were Christians, opened up their home most Sunday evenings to any of the soldiers who wanted to come in for a cup of tea and something to eat. My father played the piano and hymns or choruses were sung and a real time of fun and fellowship was had in uncertain times and life long friendships were formed. These were noisy evenings so I was allowed to ‘stay up’ and went to bed very late!
My father related the story of having to run out into the garden to scoop up my very young sister and bring her in-doors as a doodle bug came our way and the dull drone sound stopped overhead, but thankfully it went on to destroy an empty shop in the village. The next morning a crowd gathered to view the damage.
Who could forget the ‘Victory’ parties? The one in our area was held in the local golf club — there was a large hall with a stage. Chairs and tables were set out with goodies to eat and oh the singing that went on for what seemed ages — and to this day when I hear the song “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes” — the memories of that time come flooding back.
Written by Ruth Hanrahan (nee Langridge)
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