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15 October 2014
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"Where's my Orange?"

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Dorothy Packer (nee Chittenden)
Location of story: 
Strood, Kent
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7180887
Contributed on: 
22 November 2005

One of my more vivid memories during the War is of a day in the Battle of Britain. I had been allowed to go to a friend's house about eight houses from ours, to play in her very large back garden. My friend and I were playing when a battle developed overhead. Battles tended to develop very quickly, and aircraft were screaming about the sky, diving and then climbing and firing at each other whenever they got the chance. They looked like angry bees buzzing all over the sky with little puffs of black and white smoke dotted about. My friend and I ran to her air raid shelter but for some reason, I don't know why, I had to leave and run home. I was petrified, as I ran as fast as my legs would carry me down the side of their house, down her front steps, along the road, and up the 16 steps to my front door. Here I hammered and screamed for my mother to let me in. Not surprisingly there was no reply, because my mother was at the top of the back garden in our air raid shelter with my brother.

I was very frightened and upset by this time as I cowered in the corner of our small porch. Luckily for me the grandmother of a couple of little boys living two doors away was walking home from shopping and she heard me, and called me to come down and go with her to her house. Once there I could then go through their house and up their back garden into my back garden, and into the safety of the shelter. I wasn't too keen on leaving the little bit of safety I had found, but she managed to coax me. So off I went again, running as fast as I could down our steps, back along the road, up their steps, through the house, up their back garden path, along the alley and into our garden. I arrived tear-stained and breathless at the entrance to our shelter to find my mother sitting on a chair with my brother on her knee - and he was eating an orange! We didn't get many oranges during the War and I forgot my tears and the fright I had just had, and demanded to know "Where's my orange?"

This story was entered on The People's War website by Stuart Ross on behalf of Dorothy Packer, who fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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