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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Dorothy May Parker
Location of story: 
London
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4135763
Contributed on: 
31 May 2005

I was twenty when the war started, and in September 1939 I started a new job as an insurance clerk at the Royal Exchange in Lombard Street. At the time, my family lived on a new estate off a winding road with ditches on either side called ‘The Avenue’. Every day I left for work from No 1 Woodlands Avenue and turned right, heading for the train station. I could save a few minutes by walking in a straight line, meaning that I had to cross The Avenue and its ditches twice to get where I was going.

Of course, when the war started, and the Germans started bombing us, every night there was a blackout. It could have been a problem for me crossing those ditches on the way back from work in the evening; however, I had walked the route so often that I knew exactly where I was going, even in the dark. In fact, I’d done it so often that I knew just where the tree trunks were that I put my arm round to help me over the ditches.

So, one night I did the usual thing — I put my arm round the fat tree trunk to help myself over the ditch…but found wool instead of wood. I was clutching a policeman! We both laughed — it was a bright spot in a dark world.

This story was submitted to the People's war site by Steve Gothard on behalf of Dorothy May Parker, and has been added to the site with her permission. Dorothy fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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