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The Davies Family at War; Working in the Munitions Factory at aged 14 by Ronald Davies

by HaringeyLibraries

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Ronald Davies
Location of story: 
Central and North London, Morecombe
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 June 2004

This story was submitted to the People’s War website by Annie Keane of the BBC on behalf of of Ronald Davies and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

A family split up
I was 10 when the war started and we were living in Gosfield Street, Great Portland Street. Myself and two sisters were evacuated on the September 1st Croxley Green (nr. Watford) which was only 15 miles away from London. We went on a train from Great Portland Street Station. My Dad was in the Territorial Army and he got called up on the Saturday September 2nd. By the Sunday my Mum was on her own for the first time.

Moving house with a horse and cart
We’d never been away from Mum before and we all missed each other. We stayed there for six months, we were with a young married couple who were nice to us. We came to London and Dad found us somewhere new to live when he was back on leave. It was in Camden Road, Islington. We borrowed a horse and cart and a hand barrow and moved all our possession ourselves, we walked all the way there from the West End. We stayed there until Dad came out of the army in 1946.

Evacuation and back
We were evacuated to Morecambe because it was getting a bit hair-raising in London. This time Mum came with us and we stayed for there for two years. We liked it there. There was a lot of airmen there they did their training there. We also went to a posh school, which was much better schools than in London.

When we came back to London, we had an Anderson Shelter in the garden. There used to be two families in there and two cats, you couldn’t leave the animals outside. We used to lie in bed and see and flying bombs (doodlebugs) go overhead, they were lit up at the back. We only went in the shelter when we heard the bombs going off nearby.

I remember standing out in the streets and watching the planes fighting overhead and you’d be thinking where are all those bullets going to end up. We used to go out the next day and collect all the bits of shrapnel, nose cones and things. I joined the army cadets, first I joined the Fusilers (my father’s regiment) and then I changed to the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (their headquarters were in Sun Street).

My first job
When I was 14 I got a job in a munitions factory, near Kings Cross. You had a choice about what job you could do; it was in the office, down the mines or in the factory. There was a slaughterhouse near the factory in Pentonville road, cows and pigs used to come up the road and would knock you off your bike. We had a rocket landed behind the factory one lunchtime, it destroyed half the street.

Once you had a job in the factory you couldn’t leave, that was it. I stayed there until 1945 and I had a row with a Foreman, in those days he would come to work in a bowler hat and a tie.

They were good and bad days, my attitude was ‘if it happens, it happens.’ You can’t worry too much about anything.

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Working Through War Category
Family Life Category
Lancashire Category
London Category
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