Don Father's Air Raid Memories

Working on Gun Operations at Dover Castle

By Nicola Benge

Photo:Don Father's soldier's book

Don Father's soldier's book

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Soldier's book

Soldier's book

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Air raid

It was when I was working at these searchlight and gun sites, in Deal and Canterbury, that I was called in to the Gun Operations at Dover Castle. We used to get reports from Fighter Command up in Essex if there were planes spotted. They used to ring us up (of course, there was no radio)...

"There's a group of fifty coming over your way."

Then we used to ring other sites to pass the word on, fast.

When I say we didn't have radio, of course, we did, but it was a two valve thing called a Number One, and we could only talk to sites that were close by. Its range was small.

You were so tired all the time, you know? Everywhere you went, you just fell asleep. The tiredness was because you never had a long stretch of sleep at any time. Always woken. Raids, noise.

Once, I lay down on a wooden bench, just like the ones you sit on to eat in a canteen. Do you know what they did? They tied me onto it, and put a white sheet over me, then carried me outside to the parade ground. I slept through all that. They left me there!

Then a raid started. There I was, trussed up like a mummy, outside. Idiots.

Mind you, I was as bad. I went to sleep on the beach once, with my head in my helmet. Woke up and I was in the middle of another air raid.

This page was added by Nicola Benge on 16/01/2008.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.