Wartime Memories

Doodlebugs and Air Raids

Betty Drinkwater

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Wartime Memories' page

Illustration by Heather Hookey

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Wartime Memories' page

Illustration by Heather Hookey

I worked in a sweets and tobacconist little shop, plus a small library, when I was 13 years old.  This was after school, for two hours.

Air raid shelter

One day a very smart gentleman came into the shop and handed me a large poster and said, "Would you give this to your employer to put into the window?"  When I read it, it said that everyone in the village would be issued with an air raid shelter.

I thought, "whatever is that?"  I did not have a clue until my employer explained to me what it was.  It was a kind of little hut, buried in the ground, made of corrugated iron.  So, if we heard a siren, we had to go down into this shelter and stay there until an "all clear" sounded.

My father and I were claustrophobic so when the siren went off we used to go into the big cupboard under our stairs.  My mother and sister and little brother all enjoyed being in it.  When the siren went off my sister always wanted to go to the toilet and we had to go to the end of the garden for that.

Dad said, "Take Joyce to the toilet."  So I had to go down with a candle with a  saucer under it.  Joyce used to cry saying "someone's behind the runner beans".  She was three years older than me and always nervous.

Doodlebug bombs

We were lucky in our village.  It was in the latter part of the war that we had a landmine dropped and doodlebug bombs.  They were frightening as they were like a bullet with a flame on its tail but you never knew where they were going to drop.  It would just stop and went to the ground causing fire destruction.  We had 6 doodlebugs dropped in our little village.  One near Magna Carta Island and one in our village near the railway station.

Three families had children lost which was so sad.

This page was added by Roslyn Cook on 07/04/2008.

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