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15 October 2014
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Hendon Aerodrome

by cambsaction

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
John Stovold
Location of story: 
North London
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Contributed on: 
21 December 2005

I was almost 5 years old in 1940/41, and I remember sleeping, but in being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the Anderson Shelter in the garden. The problem was that it was filled with water so we had to go and sit in the closet under the stairs! You can always tell when a German aircraft was coming over because the engines weren’t synchronised.

My father was in the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) and was out every night, and when there had been a bombing he would be out helping to dig through the rubble to find survivors.

We got a lot of bombing because we were less than a mile from the Hendon Fighter Station. As a children we’d go to any of the bomb damage nearby to see what was there, and to have somewhere to play.

My mother was ill and we went to stay with my Grandmother, who lived near Wandsworth Bridge. I remember travelling on the underground and at night we would see people sleeping on the platforms; it was the best kind of shelter. Whenever we travelled on the over ground trains at night, the carriages would only have a blue light and the windows would be taped up in case of an explosion.

I remember one day, in the street that we lived in, I saw a Spitfire come zooming over, chasing a Messerschimdt. They were only a few hundred feet off the ground. It was later that the Air Force brought a shot down Messerschimdt to the local park for members of the public to see. There were commemoration stamps of Spitfires, if you donated money you would get one of the stamps. The money raised went to making more Spitfires.

I can also remember the V1 bombs coming over. When we heard one, we’d go outside to look. If we could see the bomb was far enough away we’d watch it, knowing that someone somewhere was going to be hurt.

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