- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Olive Young (nee Pite), William Pite (brother), Kathleen Boatwright (half sister nee Erbe). Mrs Emme Erbe (Mum) and George Erbe (stepfather)
- Location of story:
- Enfield, North London
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 26 April 2005
This story was submitted to the peoples war site by Rod Sutton of Radio Cornwall CSV on behalf of Olive Young, the author, and hs been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the sites terms and conditions.
War was declared it was the 3rd of september 1939
Was 11 years at this time.
Mothers' neighbous, gathered in little groups, talking and crying.
Mums concern was for the young girls, did not understand this until I was older.
We were evacuated to Hitchen the very next day did not know where we were going or why. I finished up at Mrs Cannons, my brother further down the road.
We stayed there until Christmas, we went home for the holiday, and decided to stay home with Mum.
Many of us came back, the schools re-opened.
At school we were sent to the air raid shelters, we practised gas mask drill, we had to sit with our masks on for about half an hour, it was realy uncomfortable.
The air raids started soon after this, the famiy slept in an Anderson shelter made of concrete and corrugated iron and buried in the garden.
Some time later on friends, seven in all were in a shelter that received a direct hit, all were killed, I was hysterical that night, did not want to go down the shelter, Mum arranged our front room downstairs, as a bedroom we all slept in there, we had stickon net curtains to stop the glass splintering if bombs dropped near.
One night fire bombs were dropped all down the street, my brother who was about 13-14 years scrambled under a lory, and threw an incediary bomb into the road as it was under the petrol tank he avoided a big explosion.
As the war progressed we became less afraid.
From the age of fifteen I went to dances, came home during air raids, only sheltering when it became too close.
we could hear the shrapnel hitting the pig bins (they were put out along the road for waste food to be sent to farms) could hear the guns firing and aircraft overhead.
One night coming home from a dance (1943-44) the doodle bugs were being sent over (pilotless aircraft that dropped at random on us). We heard the throb of engines very alarming, 8 of us sheltered in a shop doorway, realised we were surrounded by glass, we had survived another night!
Out in the street one day the siren had gone, the enemy planes machine gunned the street I threw my young sister into a doorway, shielded her with my body, my only concern was her safety, she never forgot this.
My stepfather was in the home guard. Often went on night duty. Wonder when Mum slept she new what happened during the night, us children slept through it.
when the war was over , life seemed flat, we had to adapt to a life of peace. realise I had suppressed my fears, it played havoc with me, always filled with surreptitious dread. Now in my late seventies thank God we've been mostly at peace.
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