- Contributed by
- Chelmsford Library
- People in story:
- Colleen Yaxley
- Location of story:
- Great Baddow, Essex
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 29 March 2005
This story was submitted by Allen Buckroyd, who compiled ‘Great Baddow Oral History’, published in December 2003. The book contained this contribution from Colleen Yaxley and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the terms and conditions.
Colleen Yaxley — The Great Baddow Craters
I recall a bomb dropping near New Road in Great Baddow, which left a large crater:
We used to cycle up and down this crater. Thirty years later our children also played in it, as the crater was still there when they were young. Thankfully the bomb missed Jeffery Road and Baddow Hall Avenue.
Another bomb dropped in Great Baddow behind Dr Lyster’s surgery in The Yews. It was a big old house, with a long garden, which was fortunate because the bomb dropped there. The pond was still there after the war, at the bottom of the recreation ground. We were told to keep away, as the water was very, very deep.
Colleen Yaxley — Air Raid shelters
In our garden my granddad and uncle built an air raid shelter under what was the rockery. Then they rebuilt the rockery over the top of it.
During the war we spent much of our time in one or other of the brick-built air raid shelters at the village school. One is still there. There was no proper lighting so we passed the time by singing or being read to. When the siren went we went in it and when the ‘all clear’ was sounded we practised crawling out of the rear escape exit. I was far more frightened of the mosquitoes flying about than the bombs.
In the latter part of the war we had a Morrison table shelter indoors. My aunt, who worked at Hoffman’s on night work during the war, used to sleep on top of it during the day. If the siren went we all had to bundle in there at night. My grandmother used to take her box of legal papers in there but it was always taken out during the day.
Colleen Yaxley — Billetted Soldiers
I know that soldiers were billeted here because my aunt married one of those soldiers. They used to march up and down New Road. Children used to march up and down with them. We had soldiers billeted with us too but I don’t know where they slept. At one stage I had to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. I liked it. I put pictures up on the wall and took my toys in there. I think it was during an interim period after Dunkirk. A lot of the young soldiers were from the North Country. We couldn’t understand anything they said!
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