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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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I was 4

by cambsaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
John Raeburn
Location of story: 
Kingston on Thames
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 December 2005

I was 4 years old and living with my grand- parents in Kingston. There were frequent air raids and I had sat under my parents stairs and heard bomb explosions they also had an Anderson shelter in their living room which was a metal table surrounded by a mesh which was expected to protect you if the house was bombed. I remember seeing messerschmits diving on St Ives and machine gunning and I’ve seen a German bomber flying very low over my parents house in Cheltenham. There were very few toys for children in the war years, and dried bananas and powered eggs were a treat and not unpleasant. My father had been in the first world war and joined the air force in the second war. I remember being taken to the airodrome at Gloucester and seeing Wellington bombers and I remember seeing squadrons of bombers flying out in a raid. In Kingston out side Bentalls there used to be part of a spitfire and people were asked to contribute to the cost of new fighter planes and my uncle was a director of Hawkers in Siddeley that made the Hurricanes and I have seen a telegram to him from Lord Beaver Brook who was, I believe, minister of aircraft production, congratulating Hawkers on there Hurricane production.
Only being a child I really thought war time life was the norm.
I also have a photo of my father’s colleges undergoing an inspection by general Eisenhower who later became president of the USA. My father was one of the lucky ones who was not posted over seas but he had been with the New Nealand army at Gallipoli in the first world war.

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