- Contributed by
- People in story:
- John G Cundy, brother Bill, Father Jack, Mother Joyce and Granny
- Location of story:
- Guildford Surrey
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 29 November 2004
2nd World War experiences.
I was born on 21st March 1937 in Guildford, Surrey and lived there throughout WW2. My father had been invalided out of the Royal Horse Artillery and became a member of the Home Guard an ARP warden and a Special Constable for the duration. The following are various events that I can clearly remember.
1. We used to stand and watch the German bomber squadrons arriving over Guildford, Surrey in 1941/42 and use the cathedral on Stag Hill as a navigation point to divert to London or carry on to the midlands. It was possible to see all of the vapour trails of the bombers and interlaced with those of the attacking RAF fighter aircraft.
2. Whilst at primary school in Ludlow Road, Guildford a German aircraft machine-gunned the top of the school and the main hospital in Farnham road, which was next to the school. The hospital was quite clearly marked with a red cross. My mother and others of the school children rushed long distances to make sure that their infants were OK, fortunately no one was injured. We heard later that an RAF fighter shot down the German aircraft with no survivors.
3. During 1943 when the V2 rockets were coming up 'doodlebug alley' and over Guildford it was common practice to listen and wait, if the engine stopped everyone would dive for cover in their 'Anderson shelter' or under a table. One day our family took a day’s trip to Box Hill near Dorking and a doodlebug came towards the hill and when its engine stopped we all hit the ground very fast. The flying bomb hit the other side of the hill and we saw the tall trees bend over in the blast. When we stood up our grand mother gave a big scream and jumped around, my mother thought that she had been hurt in the explosion but it appeared that grandmother had sat on a frog! She was more frightened by the frog than Hitler's doodlebug.
4. At the bottom of our street the army installed searchlights and an 'ack ack battery'. When they opened fire the whole street shook and if mother let us look out we could occasionally see a German aircraft lit up by the searchlights.
The children in the area used to go and talk to the soldiers and ATS girls and when they were baking cakes they often would give us some. We would rush home and give the cake to our mothers, as due to rationing it was difficult for them to get all of the ingredients. We always called this cake 'soldiers cake' and even after the war any cake with fruit in it was still referred to as 'soldiers cake'
5. One day my father, who was then an ARP warden took my brother and myself for a walk towards the North Downs through an area which had been bombed a few days before. Several houses had been flattened but one of the others had had the front blown off and you could see the bath and toilet hanging out over the floor below. Rubble and personal items were still laying around in all of the gardens, my father told us that three families had all been killed in that raid and that was why it was so important to run for our shelters if we were told to and ‘not to bugger about playing’
6. After VE day there was a huge street party where all of the families cooked whatever they could and then shared out amongst us. In the evening there was a massive bonfire in the field next to the army billets. There was no shortage of materials due to the houses, which had been destroyed by the German bombs.
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