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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Air Raids

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
David Leeding
Location of story: 
Peterborough
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4379772
Contributed on: 
06 July 2005

David was 2 years old when the war started. He remembers being woken up when the air raid sirens went off and the family taking refuge under the stairs.

He recalls his mother being frightened and worried about his father who was in the Auxiliary Fire service. When not on duty his father would be out fire watching or down at the Fire Station.

He remembers his father telling him a tale about a raid at nearby RAF Wittering when he was called out and his hose getting caught on an unexploded bomb.

One day David looked out of his window and saw a German aircraft flying over Werrington School, Peterborough and strafing the children with machine gun fire. It is worth pointing out that German aircraft engines had a distinctive deep noise.

On several occasions his parents took him to nearby Westwood Hawards to the Elementary Flying Training School where he remembers seeing the pilots flying circuits and landing their aircraft.

Bombed out houses were another popular attraction visited by David and his friends. German prisoners of war were regularly seen clearing up the damage.

David remembers, both on D-Day and Arnham, seeing Dakota aircraft, towing gliders, flying overhead on their way to the continent. During the days leading up to D-Day the roads were saturated with British and American army vehicles.

On VE Day when David was 8 years old, he and his family went to Piccadilly Circus in London. He remembers the street parties, the trestle tables laden with food and drink, patriotic songs being sung and bonfires being lit.

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