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15 October 2014
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My Memories of WW2

by Canterbury Libraries

Contributed by 
Canterbury Libraries
People in story: 
Joan Wheatley
Location of story: 
Dover, Kent
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 October 2004

This story has been submitted to the People's War by Peter Tester for Kent Libraries and Archives and Canterbury City Council Museums on behalf of Joan Wheatley and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully undrstands the site's terms and conditions.

My Memories of WW2

I lived with my family, Dot and Fred Moody, in the Prince Regent public house, Market Square, Dover. War was imminent, so my parents had made arrangements for me and my younger sister and brother to leave Dover and stay with Grandparents in Chartham, later moving to Bracknell, where I attended school until I returned home at Christmas 1943.

The Prince Regent was a big public house with a very large room attached to the bars, every night was filled with army and navy personnel who came for a good "sing song" night out. My older sister, Kay, was a talented musician on the piano accordion and entertained the troops from opening time until closing time with all the wartime songs they could sing along to. A reporter from the Daily Mirror came down and wrote an article about this and took photos, which I still have.

My father was deaf so just kept all the boys under control but my Mother was like a Mother to them all. On many occasions if she thought any of the boys as she called them could not afford another pint she would take two shillings and give them change for ten shillings so that they could enjoy themselves for a bit longer.

The Dutch boys repaid my Mother for all her kindness by making her a VIP on three Reunion trips to Dover. On these occasions she was presented with an oil painting of the Market Square with searchlights trained on the Prince Regent painted by a Dutch artist and a beautiful very large Delft Ginger Jar (my description). She has also been mentioned in two books published in Holland written by Hans Larive, SOE, - MTB's Command and Gerard Degger, 1st Officer - MTB's.

Serving beer was non-stop from opening time to closing time so I also served behind the bar and got to know so many of the customers and prayed that they would be coming in another evening especially when they were recalled during the evening for duty, either to man the the great guns or to go to sea.

After closing time it was wash the glasses, sweep up and head for the caves for the night.

One morning we came home to find a shell had hit the Museum next door and a number of stuffed animals were laying on the flat roof, when we spoke about it people thought we were suffering from shell shock.

I have so many stories and memories perhaps one day I might write them down for my family to read.

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