- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Frank, Kathleen and Mary Cross
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 May 2005
This Story is submitted by a volunteer on behalf of Radio Bristol Action Desk at City of Bristol College.
Mary Cross recalls a story told to her by her parents regarding the outbreak of war and their position at the time.
Frank and Kathleen Cross along with me (3 or 4 at the time) decided to have a short holiday in Dawlish in Devon, probably one of the few holidays they'd had together.
As it happened this was September 1939 and my father was working at Hawker aircraft company in Kingston-on-Thames and was very involved in production of the Hurricane aircraft. The family were on the beach in Dawlish the day that war was declared and my father must have seen a headline of a newspaper or heard someone say 'War has been declared!.
At that point he just said... "That's it, I must go back to the drawing office" and promptly left her young wife and daughter on the beach to fend for themselves as he felt that efforts in production were now of vital import and that he must be there with no time to waste. He then went on to work practically day and night in the design office for months if not years.
Perhaps he was right, as he subsequently rose to become assisstant chief designer, working closely with Sir Sidney Camm and the design team.
The upshot of this was that a young woman, with little experience of travel (only natural for the time) was left with a young child on her own on beach in Dawlish! He must have had a pang of guilt as he asked local neighbours to check on them and I think that one of them did come down to meet her and bring her home.
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