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15 October 2014
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Sundays in London Colney (1)

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Peter Lawford
Location of story: 
London Colney
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Christine McDerment from Camberley Library and has been added to the website on behalf of Peter Lawford with his permission and he fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
"My name is Peter Lawford and I was born in 1933. I lived in Birkfield Cottages on the High Street at London Colney just south of St Albans, with my mother and father Alice and George, my older sister June, who was 11, and my younger sister Hazel who was only five.
I remember the day war broke out. We had been to Sunday School as usual, we always did, and we were coming out of the village hall where it was held, when the siren on the top of the hall went off. I didn’t know what it meant, but my older sister June grabbed both us younger ones by the hand and we all ran pell mell the half mile home.
When we got home our father told us that war had been declared, but it didn’t mean much to me. You see my Uncle Jim lived with us and he had fought in the First World War. He used to show me the scar on his ankle. So I knew all about the First World War, and I thought war was just something that happened every so often. I had this vision that war just “happened”.
I wasn’t worried or anything. I just sat down and we carried on with Sunday lunch!

Another Sunday our mum and dad took us down to White Lion Lane, where the Germans had dropped what were believed to be the first bombs ever dropped here in the Second World War. There were two airfields on either side of the village and they were targets of course. This first time the two bombs just dropped in a field and it was quite a novelty for everyone, quite a Sunday outing, to go and see these two great holes in the ground. I picked up lots of bits of shrapnel and took them home as souvenirs. That would have been in 1940, but not long after that then the Blitz started. London was about 18 miles away and I remember watching the sky; you could see the orange glow each night, with all the bombs and fires."

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