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15 October 2014
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I can't find my shoes

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Glenda Preston (nee Beresford)
Location of story: 
Biggen Hill, Kent
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4686555
Contributed on: 
03 August 2005

This story has been added to the BBC People's War website by Eleanor Fell, on behalf of Glenda Preston, who has given her permission to add her story to the site and understands the site's terms and conditions.

When I was about 4 or 5 I remember the Doodlebugs which used to come over our village in Biggen Hill in Kent. One particular evening in about 1942 I remember that the sirens had gone off and we'd woken up. It was just me, my mother and my younger brother Gordon. My father was in Egypt during the war, and we didn't see him for 6 years, although he would send us postcards from Egypt to keep in touch.

We didn't like to go down to the air raid shelter, because there were loads of rats down there. So my mother had propped the bed up with bricks, elevating it to make it into a shelter. She put the mattress underneath so that we could sleep under the bed.

On this particular night we were all huddled under the bed, where we thought we would be safe. We heard the engine of the Doodlebug whirring and then it stopped and we just waited and waited. Then sudddenly there was a loud BANG, and the whole house shook and took the roof and the ceilings off.

We were trapped under the rubble, and we kept calling out for someone to help. Luckily in the morning the ARP arrived and managed to dig us out from under the bed. I remember clearly that my mother kept saying "I can't find my shoes!" Which was the least of our worries really since we didn't have a house anymore!

Nowadays a thunderstorm will really frighten me - I hate the bangs of thunder, they make me jump. I haven't ever forgotten that evening - but at least for once we were safe under the bed.

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