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A Chudleigh Knighton Childhood (in ww 2).

by csvdevon

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Philip John Tapper, Frank and Edith Tapper. Arthur Tapper.
Location of story: 
Chudleigh Knighton.
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 June 2005

This story has been written onto the BBC People's War site by CSV Storygatherer Jane Chanter on behalf of Philip John Tapper. The story has been added to the site with his permission and Philip John Tapper fully understands the terms and conditions of the site.

I was seven years old when war broke out. I was the third son of Frank and Edith Tapper - having two older brothers Arthur and George and my young brother Charles. I suppose I expected it would be aeroplanes and bombs all around from then on.

There were so many of us at Chudleigh Knighton School as the evacuees arrived, that it was decided to send all the pupils home for the rest of the day so that schooling could be sorted out and in the end the village hall was used to accommodate everyone, the larger classes went on with normal teaching.

I remember seeing the red glow in the sky on the nights when both Plymouth and Exeter were being bombed. It must have been 1942 when Exeter was hit as my mother was very ill in hospital there and a nurse volunteered to stay in the ward with her as she was too ill to be moved. A few months later she came home with our new baby brother Matthew.

The Americans were stationed in Pitt House Chudleigh Knighton and in Bovey Tracey. They had built concrete squares to house drums of petrol on Chudleigh Knighton Heath and after school some boys and I would visit them in their sentry huts on the edge of the heath for a chat as they stood guard. They were always very kind and gave us children sweets and chewing gum.
Once when out playing in the snow, a lone German plane flew very low over the area and when it came over my head I felt frightened in case he would target me. The target of course was the fuel being stored.

My eldest brother joined the army and went away to fight in Germany. When he came home in 1946 he brought home his new German bride.
My father and a neighbour built an Anderson shelter in the back garden but we never used it as it filled up with water.

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