I was eight when the war started; my brother had recently joined the Fleet Air Arm and my father was recalled to Naval service.
I spent most of the war in Portsmouth, although I was evacuated twice with my mother, who had a nervous breakdown, but we returned to Portsmouth and stayed through all the blitz.
While away we stayed with relatives further north in Hampshire and while there I passed the Scholarship Exam (later the 11+) and was offered a place by Portsmouth with the Portsmouth Girls Northern Secondary School in Winchester and the Hampshire County Secondary School in Kingsclere, but my mother could not be left.
I lived near Sydenham's Timber Yard and we were rocked in our shelter when it was bombed, and all the windows in our and other local houses were blown out. That was our personal worst experience, although there were events like the Saturday afternoon bomb on the cinema in Lake Road, the bombing of Crasswell Street and Portsea, and the burning out of the Guildhall. For that, my father was conscripted to help, as he got off the train to come home for the weekend. He finally arrived home at 4 in the morning, and we had to clean his suit and wash all his clothes before his return to duty on Monday, to get rid of all the smoke and stains. What an experience.