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Schoolboy Souvenir Collecting.

by cornwallcsv

Contributed by 
cornwallcsv
People in story: 
Reginald Selway; Gerald Exelby.
Location of story: 
Taunton, Somerset
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4675863
Contributed on: 
02 August 2005

This story has been written onto the BBC People's War site by CSV Storygatherer Robin. D. Bailey on behalf of the author Reginald Selway. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.

During the war nearly every schoolboy collected items such as parachute remnants, army badges or bits of shrapnel, and my friend Gerald Exelby and myself were no exception.

On the night of 27th/28th March 1944 a German bomber was shot down and crashed near Hestercombe House, Taunton, so we both cycled to the spot with the hope of adding to our collection, only to find the site well guarded by armed soldiers. However, in a field nearby we did find many unexploded incendiary bombs which had fallen from the doomed aircraft; So Gerald and I helped ourselves to a bomb each and took them home, where we put them in our garden Anderson Shelters. Later that night there was a knock at the door, and on the doorstep was a burly police sergeant who said that it had been reported that two lads had been seen carrying incendiary bombs. Of course, I denied all knowledge. When I felt sure that he had gone, I contacted my friend who was now as scared as I was following police questioning.

We recovered the bombs from the air raid shelters and cycled into Taunton; On reaching the bridge over the River Tone, we threw both bombs into the river where, no doubt, they still remain in the mud to this day.

So ended a very stupid escapade, but even in wartime "boys will be boys."

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