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15 October 2014
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Coping with a War and having no legs

by cambsaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Pearl Peck, Herbert Peck and Audrey Peck
Location of story: 
Sudbury, Suffolk
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5020688
Contributed on: 
12 August 2005

Pearl and her daughter Audrey 1953

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Mike Langran of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Story Gatherer Team on behalf of Pearl Peck and has been added to site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I was a Nurse in Sudbury, Suffolk for two years when I had a road accident and was in hospital for twelve months. I had my right leg amputated above the knee and my left leg amputated below the knee.

About a year after this I was in bed when we had an air raid. I got out of bed and fell on the floor. In the rush to take cover I had forgotten I couldn’t walk. As a result of this my brother built an air raid shelter in the garden under the apple trees. We went into this shelter every night for the rest of the war. There was a candle and mattress in the shelter. The matches would always light on first striking them as it so damp proof. During the day we would shelter in the cupboard under the stairs. We had neighbours across the road who, when we had an air raid, would take cover in the ditch with the croaking frogs! We were very fortunate.

With the help of my then fiancé, I learnt to ride a bicycle. He would put me on the bike, push me forward and I would then pedal keeping my balance, he would get on his bike, catch up with me and put his hand on my shoulder. One day we were riding through the High Street when he heard a noise which he thought was a bomb falling through the air, he dived to lay flat on the ground leaving me to pedal up the Street. He then realised the noise was a lorry unloading his load of shingle!! He then got back on his bike and caught me up.

We met when he came to our house to replace a pane of glass. I was sitting on the hearthrug in front of the fire and he said to himself ”I would like to marry that young girl and take care of her.” He was called up into the Army and went to Africa where he once marched 17 miles then went straight into battle.

He cam home on leave on a Monday, we rushed him to Bury St. Edmunds to be measured for a suit, the next day the suit was fitted and then delivered the following day, and we married at 2.30pm that day.

A good friend of his who he met through camping, were called up together but then separated, met up in a village in Africa while fighting.

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