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Civil Servant Edna

by derbycsv

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Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
derbycsv
People in story: 
Edna Weatherley
Location of story: 
London
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5639763
Contributed on: 
08 September 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Lin Freeman of Radio Derby CSV on behalf of Mrs Edna Weatherley and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I heard my first air raid siren on 3rd September 1939. I was at my house, living with my parents. We heard the alarm and thought the war had started but it turned out to be a false alarm. As a civil servant I was evacuated to Morecambe, Lancs in 1940. After marriage in 1943 I returned to London where I had a choice of four jobs. I could stay as a civil servant, work in a factory, become a nurse or go into the forces. My husband and my father wouldn’t let me join the forces (I don’t think they trusted me with all those handsome men!) so I decided to stay as a civil servant and worked at the Admiralty, to do with naval signals, based at the Citadel near Admiralty Arch at the beginning of the Mall. We had 3 shifts, A, B and C. I was on B watch and we did a day shift (9.30am — 7.30pm) then 24 hours off and then a night shift (7.30pm — 9.30am) so you never got into a regular pattern of sleep.

Because I lived in the North of London I wasn’t under the constant threat of bombs as were people living in the centre, but then the Germans came up with a new weapon. The doodlebugs started. I was bombed out in 1944 with a doodlebug which came over the house while I was there with my mother. I was in the garden watching it go over and suddenly the engine stopped and I knew it was going to drop. I shot into the house as quickly as I could. It dropped on the other side of the road and the blast went right through the house. When it had all died down and the rubble had stopped falling and the smoke had cleared, we found we couldn’t get to the front of the house at all as it had all collapsed.

In 1945, just before I was due to give birth to my son I was evacuated to Derbyshire. Once you realised you were about to give birth they sent for the ‘agony wagon’ and we were taken to Willersley Castle to have our babies. We were kept there for a fortnight until we’d recovered from the traumas of birth.
My husband was a wireless operator with 49 Squadron Bomber Command, flying 33 bombing operations. He served from 1940 — 1945 and luckily survived.

We moved back to Derbyshire when my husband retired and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now.

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