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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Air Raid Shelter in The Garden

by BBC Open Centre, Hull

Contributed by 
BBC Open Centre, Hull
People in story: 
Sarah Harvey (nee Armstrong), William Harvey
Location of story: 
Monkseaton, Northumberland
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
31 May 2005

Sarah Harvey by the air-raid shelter

Told to Christine Barker at VE Day Celebrations in Beveley 2005 by Sybil Clay nee Harvey
Sarah Harvey (nee Armstrong). My Grandma and mother of David Harvey.
She was born in Brampton, Cumberland in 1875. During the War she lived at 14 Burnbank Avenue, Wellfield, Monkseaton, Northumberland. This photograph was taken about 1944 in her back garden, in front of the air-raid shelter. Her husband, my grandfather, was William Harvey born 1873 in Troon, Ayrshire. He was a foreman joiner with the North Eastern Railway Company and after his retirement in 1938 he went to South Africa. After the war started, he was unable to return home. He worked for his brother-in-law, who forgot to pay him, so in 1940, he lied about his age, saying he was 58 when in fact he was 68, and joined the South African Air Force. He was discharged on 31st July 1945 'age 63, having reached the age of retirement' according to his discharge papers. In fact he was 72 years of age. Could he have been the oldest serviceman in the Empire? He certainly liked to think so.

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