"The sirens were going off, and next minute our roof was blown off"

Linda, 76

I was born during the war and lived through the Blitz in London.  I was around 2-3 years old at the time. I remember that my Grandfather had come upstairs to get me because the sirens were going off, and next minute, our roof was blown off – my Grandfather threw himself over me to protect me, but I still clearly remember being able to see the stars in the sky from our new hole.  Another time, my brother and I were sitting on our window sill on the landing watching the bomb squad dig up a bomb that had lodged in our driveway (which had travelled under our neighbour’s house) - there were no hard hats or safety wear back in those days, no bomb suits.

I still remember the sirens though, and it brings back memories when I hear them. There were a lot of bomb shelters in London, and if you were out in town with your Mum and the sirens went off, we had to rush to get into the closest one. I remember people singing in the bomb shelter when the planes went over; it was to make sure the kids didn’t get scared or frightened. If the sirens went off when we were at home, we all had to get into a small cupboard. In this cupboard was a shelf, and on this shelf there were always two bottles of beer. One might be empty, one might be full, or both full or empty, but there were always just two bottles.  When we had to go in there because of the sirens, the bottles were always placed on the floor in the corner, and when we were given the all clear, the bottles went back on the shelf.

Like a lot of kids I was sent away during the war. My family sent me to Wales to live with my Grandmother and my Aunty. My mum stayed in London with my new brother, and my dad was needed in the factory making machine engines. He couldn’t join the forces because he had perforated eardrums.

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Dione Brockwell