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My Brother- A Short Life

by esthamian

Contributed by 
People in story: 
by Keith Fieldhouse about Ray Fieldhouse
Location of story: 
London, Worcestershire and Kent
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 May 2005

I am the youngest of four children born in East Ham London, now part of "Newham".
My idol was my brother Ray, the eldest of us. He was christened Arthur Raymond but was always known as Ray.
Born in 1924 Ray left school at 14. After a brief first job he joined the B.B.C. in 1938 or 39.
By the time of the London blitz in 1940 Ray was working as a "copy taster" in the overseas newsroom either at Broadcasting House or Bush House.
Shift work meant that air raids were often still in progress when work finished. With no underground or buses running Ray would walk the five or so miles back to East Ham.Imagine our mothers worry when she didn't know what time he might get home. Worries heightened by his anecdotes surrounding his long walk.
Two of these I remember;
One night while walking Ray heard the whistle of bombs and ducked into a shop doorway. A bomb fell some 300 yards along the road in the direction he was walking.
On another occasion Ray stopped to help dig people out of a house which had just been bombed.
Ray was still only 16 or 17.
The B.B.C. evacuated some people to Wood Norton, Evesham. Ray was there in 1941.
Call up at age 18 in 1942 lead Ray into the R.A.F. to train as a ground wireless operator.
On 22nd May 1944 Ray reached a new posting at Ashford, Kent.
After the telegram two R.A.F. officers visited our mother to explain that a lone German aircraft had dropped one bomb which had killed 20 men in a mess tent, including my big brother, newly arrived at Ashford that day.
Ray would have been 20 in June.
At this stage of the war we believe that this was the last manned aircraft to attack before the start of Hitler's V weapons.
Ray's luck had just run out.

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