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Ron Remembers

by Civic Centre, Bedford

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Civic Centre, Bedford
People in story: 
Ron Hepburn
Location of story: 
Staines, Middlesex
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
16 August 2005

(This story was submitted to the People's War site by volunteer from Three Counties Action at Bedford VE/VJ's commemorations on behalf of Ron Hepburn and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Hepburn fully understands the site's terms and conditions).

I think at the time of this story I was around 7 years old and I remember the war staring when the siren went off. To begin with we treated it as a joke but actually we were scared mainly by the noise it made. The noise used to go up and down. To begin with as well a policeman went down the road blowing a whistle telling people to take cover.

I remember the doodlebugs you heard them and when the engine stopped that’s when they dropped and you thought “keep going, keep going”! Where we lived in Staines we were close to a reservoir and they used to fall into the reservoir.

At school when the air raids went off we used to spend most of the school in the shelter but at schools it was a re-enforced room within the school building, not outside. We used to sit there and have a bit of a lesson. I thought it was great, but it wasn’t as we didn’t get much of an education.

We had gas masks and we carried them in a box with a string, we tried them on a bit but we never had any gas attacks. My sister Valerie was too young to have a gas mask so they put the babies in a gas suit. The gas masks had a horrible smell. At home when the raids went we used to sleep in an Anderson shelter outside, we slept there in the summer and the winter and we never got a cold. We had bedding, blankets and bits of food and candles. We ate stodge mostly, things like corned beef, and although all food was rationed we never went hungry. We also had milk delivered every day. My mum used to make suet pudding, bacon and onion roll, spotted dick and bread pudding (using up all the stale bread).

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