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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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A Young Woman's Vivid Memories.

by Doris Payne

Doris

Contributed by 
Doris Payne
People in story: 
Doris and Jim Payne
Location of story: 
London
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4130894
Contributed on: 
30 May 2005

In 1940 I lived near Epping Forest. Early that year I became very ill and was admitted to a hospital in East London. One night I heard the eerie but familiar sound of an air-raid warning and the patients and staff were evacuated to the underground shelters, but I was too ill to be moved. I can remember two doctors and a nurse took a huge risk and stayed with me while the adjacent nurses’ home was bombed. This act of selfless duty has never left my memory.
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At that time my mother was the welfare assistant in a large primary school near her home. Each day she would go to the local baker Dillaways to buy rolls for the staff lunches. On one occasion a friend accompanied her but my mother found that she had forgotten her purse and even though the friend offered to lend her the money, she declined and went back home for it.
She never saw the friend again because Dillaways received a direct hit a few minutes later.
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I spent much of my spare time during the war with the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) later to become the famous WRVS. In hospitals and in local halls I looked after people who had been bombed out of their homes and when I wasn’t doing that I made hundreds of sandwiches for all these people including medical staff who were rushed off their feet and had little time to stop and eat.
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I married in the summer of 1940 and soon afterwards my new husband Jim volunteered to serve in the RAF. First Lord Hankey, Marshal of the RAF turned down his application saying: ”It will be of more value to the country that he should continue in his civilian life to design aeronautical instruments for our aircraft.”
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