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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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School days at Romsey School and the Central School

by cambsaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Veronica Doreen Mepham (nee Fenn); Beryl Denier
Location of story: 
Cambridge
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5322692
Contributed on: 
25 August 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Margaret Waddy of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Story Gatherer Team on behalf of Veronica Doreen Mepham and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was nine when the war started. I was playing on the recreation ground on Coleridge Road and another child ran over and said, ‘The war’s started’. We thought we’d see Germans marching down the street immediately — but we didn’t.

We all got issued with gas masks and ration cards. I think the cards came from the Guildhall. We had to practise putting on the gas masks in the classroom. I was quite frightened of my mask.

The next thing was that we had an air raid. We knew they were German bombers because they made a different sound. So my mother put us in a cupboard under the stairs, with our gas masks out of their boxes and on our laps.

I was at Romsey School, then Central School on Parkside after the Eleven Plus (or whatever it was called then). We had evacuees in our home in Hobart Road — a mother and two boys from East London. It was a bit difficult — my mother was a widow and had to go to work to keep us all. She cleaned for people. In those days there weren’t many jobs for women. She couldn’t work in a factory because she had to be at home for us children.

My friend Beryl Denier and I used to tap-dance. We did all sorts of shows. At the end of the war there were loads of street parties and we got invited to them all.

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