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Bomb hits Jam Barrels, Histon, Cambridge

by Essex Action Desk

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Essex Action Desk
People in story: 
Michael Howard
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Contributed on: 
25 August 2005

“This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Anita Howard from the Essex Action Desk CSV on behalf of Michael Howard and has been added to the site with his permission. Michael Howard fully understands the site’s terms and conditions”

I lived in Histon near Cambridge and when the war broke out I was six years old. We had an evacuee named Doris for about two years and she attended the local school. I remember she was a tiny nervous person and later went back to London as I believe she missed her family

At night the Lancasters would take off on bombing raids. I saw them stacking up in formation but I only saw a few flashes from the bombs. Not many came our way but I did see a V1 which crashed in the immediate neighbourhood.

We lived near Chiver’s jam factory and one day a bomb dropped on hundeds of barrels stacked outside the factory. It was a very hot day and everyone had their windows open. The sticky mess had splattered every where. It didn’t harm us but we all went to survey the damage.

Dad made a dug out shelter in the back garden probably with the help from a neighbour. It was just a hole in the ground with a roof. We only used it once as we were too far inland for most bombs to reach. My dad did his bit by joining the Red Cross. I remember him going for his training. We also had an allotment where dad grew potatoes, peas, cabbages, beetroot, cauliflower and carrots etc.

An American girl came to live with us, Mary Elizabeth, aged about four or five. Her father was stationed at Waterbeach Air Base. I think her mother had died. Towards the end of the war we were invited to the base by the girl’s father. We were taken into the canteen where doughnuts were being made. I had them by the dozen and doughnuts have never tasted so good since.

We went potato picking at a near by farm and collected conkers and rose hips which we took to school. The rose hips were made into rose hip syrup which contained a lot of vitamin C but I don’t know what the conkers were used for. I didn’t have many toys as my parents couldn’t afford much but I do remember I had a clockwork train set.

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