- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Hazel Daphne Doswell, Hazel’s Brother Frank Gordon Doswell, Cats Eyes Cunningham, Canadian Soldier R A Larry Boisert
- Location of story:
- Sanderstead, Croydon Airport, Crowham Hurst, Addington Village.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 November 2005
Hazel with Brother Frank 1940
This story was submitted to the Peoples War site by Jas from Global Information Centre Eastbourne and has been added to the website on behalf of Mrs Reigate Nee Doswell with her permission and she fully understands the site’s terms and conditions
Sanderstead Village church and pond area is over 300 feet above sea level so being there the second week in August 1940 Croyden Airport appeared to be in a valley.
Noisy activity was in the sky, when I saw a bomb fall, extra horrifying for me as my elder brother Frank worked there assembling aircraft……..A flying door held him to the ground as protection, but his thick, dark hair fell out and his speech failed for at least three days.
August 18th 1940. German bombers raided too successfully Kenley Airport, destroying all 10 aircraft hangars and 12 aeroplanes which included 10 Hurricanes (fighter aircraft, airmen and their wives in married quarters devastated.) Less than a year before Kenley had become a HQ. B Sector Fighter Group Command for Croydon, Redhill, Gatwick, Shoreham and Friston Airfields.
By far the most exhaustingly tired service personnel I ever saw was Group Captain “CAT’S EYES CUNNINGHAM”, namely being most efficient at nighttime flying.
His home was on the edge of Crowham Hurst woodland. As I walked by he reviewed the steps to his front door as if wondering if he had the energy to climb them — I spoke and then realised he had little breath to answer me, his tired eyes were heartbreaking to see…….Has a taxi taken him there?………Why no help to carry his bag?…..
My words to offer were in awe, trapped in my throat! So sad.
I walked on through a short cut home (by passing Selsdon shops). A short distance on the other side was the pylon and the last bungalow edging a footpath.
It was generally thought an enemy agent lived there, who conveyed the fact that Artillery Army Canadian Troops were stationed in Addington Village.
My parents were happy to give hospitality to five who regularly called in.
Personally I liked Larry Boisert, he wrote in my autograph book — “Your eyes like twin stars when you smile at me, your profile, your heart, your care,………make me hope to be YOUR LARRY”
Their convoy travelled away one night when the order was “Send in x number of more troops”
We heard they were all lost in the D Day landings!?
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