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11 July 2014
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WW2 - People's War

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About the contributor

JRLHarris
User ID: U890270

My Great Grandmother was from Kiel in North Germany. She married My Great Grandfather who came from the west country, Wiltshire or Somerset and settled in Dalston, East London. They had three children, two boys and a daughter who were all in their late twenties, early thirties during the second world war.
My Grandfather was the eldest of the three. Unfortunately they have all long since passed away and so the information I am aware of is a little sketchy. Because of their German ancestry I am not sure if they decided their part in the war or if it was 'decided' for them.
My Grandfather joined the fire brigade and spent most of his service in and around the London docks. His brother fought in the far-east, therefore not directly against Germany and their sister was supposedly interned for a while, accused of all things, of standing on the rooftops with a torch signalling to the German bombers! I really am not sure of this as surely nobody would be so foolhardy no matter what their political convictions? I think this maybe one of those stories passed down and confussed by my family.
All three made it through the war physically unscathed. I do not know about my Great Uncle as I never met him but my Grandfather was haunted by terrible nightmares of the blitz. As a child I was not allowed to ask him about it encase it caused him further dreams.
The one story I am aware of is of him opening a telephone box to ask the lady who was using it to come out. When he put his hand on her shoulder it became apparent she was dead even though still standing. The glass shards had killed her.

I am sure I have seen him in some old footage of firemen scrambling and rumaging over some bricks and bomb debris on a documentary. He was tall and to me had a distinctive face which leads me to believe it was him.

I hope to attempt a little research into his service as a fireman at the docks. Should anyone have any pointers I would be pleased to hear from them.

My Father has lots of stories about hauling lumps of doodle bug back from the common with his mates and getting a clip round the ear for it from the local bobby. I shall get him to write them down to add to this passage.

Stories contributed by JRLHarris

What Part You Play if Your Mother is German?

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