- Contributed by
- Link into Learning
- People in story:
- Doreen Denning and family, Howard Denning
- Location of story:
- Hampden Park, Eastbourne
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 16 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Dominic Penny of Link into Learning on behalf of Doreen Denning and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s Terms and Conditions.
We lived at Hampden Park near Eastbourne. Although we were evacuated for the first 2 or 3 years of the war; we; all 4 of us, were desperately unhappy so we went back home.
Soon afterwards, we all suffered the worst part of the war, as the Germans invented the doodlebug or flying bombs. These were intended for London. But barrages of anti-aircraft guns were set up to try and knock them out of the sky so they would fall harmlessly on the fields. So air raid sirens sounded nearly all the time and when action was close, you had the urgent warning and then had to dive into the nearest shelter as soon as you could; to avoid being hit by flying shrapnel.
At home, we had a Morrison shelter; a table made out of steel and my youngest sister and I slept underneath at night. My two older sisters slept on the floor just outside and Mum and Dad in the front room. If the action got really noisy at night, everyone crawled in under the table. The windows were protected with shutters to stop glass breaking inside the room. It was a bit terrifying, but we all went to school next day; my eldest sister went to Art College.
Our Church was demolished by a direct hit and hymn books flew all over the parish. Luckily, this was not on a Sunday. My sister’s Art College also received a direct hit, and luckily this was on Sunday, so no one was hurt.
We were all getting very run down and a friend of my father, offered us to stay a week in Nottingham. A welcome break.
The amazing thing was; on our return, our neighbour said “You don’t have to sleep downstairs anymore”.
It was true, as our troops had invaded France and captured the doodlebug bases; so it was wonderful!! We could sleep peacefully at night once again.
So what a really wonderful day it was when the war in Europe finally ended.
My mum wouldn’t let us out to join in the celebrations, because she remembered the high jinks in Portsmouth in 1918; but Howard (later to be my husband) said on the sea front near the bandstand the sailors were celebrating with the WRENS and they waded into the sea fully dressed in uniform and their hats floated away on the waves, to the cheers of everybody!!
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