- Contributed by
- Elizabeth Lister
- People in story:
- Rita Richardson Collins
- Location of story:
- Oxford Road, Reading
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 02 December 2005
This story has been submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from CSV Berkshire on behalf of Rita Richardson Collins and has been added to the site with her permission. Rita Richardson Collins fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
I was from a service family. My father was in the Royal Navy but had to opt out as he suffered from claustrophobia. He was then transferred to the Royal Engineers.
I was eight years old when the war started and I lived with my family in a four—storied building on Oxford Road in Reading. I still remember when the sirens would go off my father would make the whole family go into the cellar but he couldn’t join us due to his claustrophobia. So he would pace up and down the streets with a shovel in his hand. He said in case a bomb fell on the building he would know where to dig us out from.
Although there was a constant threat to our lives we somehow weren’t scared all the time. Not like today when people live in constant fear.
I remember that we were much happier then than we are now. People were kinder to each other because we were all in the same boat.
Our happiness came from simple things. I remember on Christmas mum would buy us a cutout dolls book and we sat for hours dressing the dolls with paper clothes. I loved the clothes in those days. They were very stylish.
We also loved hearing the big band on radio- Ted Heath being one of our favourites.
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