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MEMORIES OF THE SHELTER

by CSV Solent

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Solent
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A8151167
Contributed on: 
31 December 2005

Interview with Eric Murket by Henriette Wood Grossenbacher.
Eric is a longstanding friend of my husband, a mate from work at the London Electricity board. He spent the wartime as a primary school boy in London. He kindly gave permission to add his stories to the Peoples’ War website. The interview took place in late September 2005 at his house in Hunstanton, Norfolk..
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I think I was 6 or 7 we didn’t go to school. The bombings were so bad we had Saturday morning school from 9 or 10 to 1pm. That was not at our normal school, somewhere off the Harrow Road. My real school was at Beethoven Street. We had shelters there but they were not more than light bike sheds. The children would sit under them and read books and most of the books we read were the Beano the Dandy and other comics. We did not have Mickey Mouse masks. They were for babies. We had the sort of grown up one. When you put them on they steamed up
When the bombing was very very bad, very heavy bombing people were given allocations to a shelter in the underground. My family was allocated to Maida Vale Station. It was far. At the end of Kilburn Lane you got to Queens Park. At Queens Park Station we took the train to Maida Vale on these very bad nights and we were allocated a space and we slept on the hard floor. They used to turn the electrics off on the railways at 12’o clock. It was not cold; it was all fun for children.

The underground trains had protecting fabric over the windows, over the glass and I can always remember graffiti inside the train compartment. They used to pull back a small portion of this protecting membrane and someone used to write a poem: “ pardon my correction, that stuff is there for your protection. Thank you for the information, for I’m looking for the blinking station”

At home we had a shelter- this is Kilburn Lane again by the old, bombed school. My friend Gordon lived round the corner. There were two shelters involved here. We had a thing that we called a Morrison indoor shelter, it was a metal table with a cage. When they came over and had the siren we used to nip into the cage and I used to grab the cat. And first thing we shut the cage.

Gordon’s shelter was an outside Anderson with a corrugated iron roof. Lots of times we used to play in there. We put a blanket inside, on poles, so that we would be underneath the blanket. That would be an aeroplane. My friend Gordon would sit in the front, he was always the pilot, and this would be a bomber. I used to be the rear gunner and navigator. We used to go over Germany and various places and drop bombs. We always got hit on the way back and someone had to go out onto the wing of the Lancaster and put the fire out. Usually it was me because I was the bravest. But we always came home unscathed but then the next day we were back on duty again.

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