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Just a wartime story (as a child)

by Elizabeth Lister

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Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
Elizabeth Lister
People in story: 
Pamela Joan Parbery
Location of story: 
East London (West Ham)
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5970170
Contributed on: 
30 September 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from BBC Radio Berkshire on behalf of Pamela and has been added to the site with her permission. Pamela fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was 6 years old when the WWII war started. I was born in West Ham an only child.

My experiences were when my grandparents were bombed—out during the ‘blitz’; they lived in the dockland area and my father got hold of a horse and cart to move what was left of their possessions.

One of my uncles was killed doing his duties as an air raid warden.

I can remember the dreadful raids that followed the daylight bombing.

We had an ‘anderson shelter’ in the garden, but when the raids got very bad we used to go into the local catholic church in Forest Gate, near to us, and spend the nights in the crypt.

I was taken with appendicitis to Whipps Cross Hospital during an air raid and had to have an operation.

Because of the raids being so bad my aunt took me in for a year in Billerieay, Essex.

On my return to London I had the experience of bombs falling in a straight line towards our house, but the last one fell in the street behind us. We saw the devastation when we got out of the shelter. Our own house was damaged a number of times. School lessons carried on as best they could and I don’t remember NOT going to school.

Later on the V1’s and V2’s started and we carried on as best we could. Then the rockets were dreadful, but we survived.

During the V1’s my aunt was killed at Fords Motor Works, Dagenham. Ironically, had she caught the bus instead of accepting a lift in a car, she would not have been a victim. She got out of the car, walked a short way and was caught in the blast. It took some time to find her body, but the sniffer dogs were brought in and she was found, but with only a bruise on her face. The only casualty I believe.

We coped with life until the end of the war and were grateful just to have survived it!

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