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Signalling to the enemy!

by nottinghamcsv

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Joan Smith
Location of story: 
Grantham, England
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
23 June 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by CSV/BBC Radio Nottingham on behalf of Joan Smith with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

This rather amusing incident took place in Grantham in the spring of 1941 when a friend and I had gone to visit our boyfriends who were both in the Royal Airforce. We saw the boys during the day and after they’d gone back to camp my friend and I went to bed in the boarding house we were staying in and because it was very stuffy we took the blackout down. At about midnight we were woken up by frantic banging on the front door and footsteps thundering upstairs to where we were sleeping at the top of the boarding house. We got out of bed and opened the door to find a policeman and the owner of the boarding house standing there and the policeman said to us ‘you are signalling to the enemy!’. Well, my friend and I were a bit non-plussed because we didn’t know what signals were used and we didn’t even know any Morse code! The policeman went on and on and all of a sudden his face went very red and I realized that the nightie I was wearing was a particularly see-through one and from his expression he’d suddenly realized what he was looking at! In the end we came to the conclusion that the heavy lorries, which were passing through Grantham had caused the light to flicker on and off and that was the signalling!! We then returned to bed with the blackout firmly in place so as not to alert the enemy!

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