1940s RAF Pilot
WW2 Despatch Rider
The Home Guard
The Home Guard
Dunkirk - B.E.F.
AnthonyThis is Anthony. Born in 1936, as a little boy during World War 2 his parents moved from town to town trying to avoid the constant bombing raids and was in fact 'bombed out' of home twice. Because of the upheaval his education suffered and even now at the age of 82 is still trying to learning the alphabet. When old enough he joined the Royal Navy serving for a period of time until one day when on leave was involved in a serious car crash involving a lorry. Anthony suffered severe head injuries sustaining a hole through his forehead that required plastic surgery taking skin from his upper arms to rebuild his face.
JohnThis is John whom I met when photographing 'Children of the 40's' for my WW2 / 1940's Project. John was 15 years old when war broke out; his younger self in the photograph he's holding. A very gentle, gracious man who remarked at the effort I'd gone to, to drive some distance and bring along a considerable amount of kit. Effort? not at all! As I'm sure you feel too, keeping the memories of these folks that lived during such a period in history is our duty and must never be forgotten. Seeing all the photographs of when they were young was extremely powerful and beautiful. My wife Anne remarked that "No matter the years you could still see the child" and its so true.
Civilian (Female)Civilian Female wearing clothing of the 1940s
1940s RAF PilotDepicting RAF Pilot from the 1940s
TedTed was 10 years of age when he heard on the wireless that England was at War. Because his father had suffered an injury in WW1 to his left arm having been shot with a 'dum dum' bullet it was down to Ted to dig the hole in the garden needed to house the Anderson Shelter. He vividly remembers spending many nights with his family in the shelter listening to the bombs dropping outside not knowing what damage and destruction had been caused. Thankfully the shelter survived. Riding to and from school Ted mentions about seeing German Heinkel and Dornier overhead and thinking that at any moment he may have to dive into a brick shelter. However shrapnel from anti-aircraft guns was much more likely to cause injury. In later years Ted went on to serve in the RAF where he met a Welsh WAAF. Telling her he only knew a few words of Welsh which he believed to be swear words she told him that they weren't but what they really meant might come in use later on as they translated to "come to me sweetheart"
1940s ChildBilleted Child during WW2
JoanJoan was 7 years old and living in Hatch End when World War 2 broke out and vividly remembers as a child feeling strangely excited when the air raid sirens would sound. She rememberd being wrapped in an eiderdown and hiding in a reinforced cupboard under the stairs with family and neighbours and was very proud of her Mickey Mouse Gas Mask, but luckily never had to wear it. Her brother remembered hiding under his desk at school in Pinner and looking through the window to see a doodlebug flash by.
Civilian (Male)Civilian (Male) during the 1940s
RachelRachel was just 7 years old at the start of World War 2 in 1939 living in a suburb of Birmingham. When 10 years old she remembers having to cross a busy road on the way home from school and then once home having her tea, putting on her pyjamas and going into the Anderson Shelter with her family to do her home work. One day in 1944 whilst playing in the garden with a friend she heard an aircraft overhead. "It was so low we could see the swastikas on the wings. We lay down quickly on the grass as gunfire rained down on us. We were badly shaken but very lucky not to have been badly hurt. We never did find out how an enemy plane could fly over without the sirens sounding"
WW2 Despatch RiderDepicting Despatch Rider during WW2
NevilleThis is Neville. Aged 10 when World War 2 was declared, Neville stayed in Poole, Dorset which although being a harbour used by sea planes it was never the centre of attack although there were a few occasions he and other children had to go downstairs to hide under the staircase as alarms were sounded. Returning to Southampton (his home) he witnessed way more devastation as with it being a huge port with lots of industry in and around it suffered greatly. I've also included a close up of Neville as a child where you can see him stood outside an Anderson Shelter in his garden.
The Home GuardMen of the Home Guard during WW2
MargaretIt was just 5 days before Margaret’s 9th Birthday when World War 2 broke out on September 3rd, 1939. Living on the family farm in Lancashire, nearby there was a prisoner of war camp within two miles…“The camp was called the River Bela Camp which was secure on three sides bounded by the river Bela, the road and the railway line. The fourth side was not visible from the road. The Camp commandant came to the farm and asked if two prisoners could come and work on the farm. We only had accommodation for one so Paul came to live with us and Theo had to travel in every day. How did I feel about these men? I was a young teenager and had to sit next to Paul at meal times. At first, I sat as far away from him as possible. I didn’t want to be near a German as it had been a German who had shot my father’s leg off. Eventually my father saw my aversion and told me he had probably shot a few legs off himself. War is War and soldiers have to fight for king and country, whether they wanted to fight or not. When war came to an end, it was sad to realise our ‘Prisoners’ had to leave. They were sent to a Repatriation Depot awaiting their return to Germany. No letter ever came from Paul to my father. It made my Dad very sad, disappointed and hurt. He looked every day in the hope of a letter, but Paul never wrote. It was surprising, considering that they had worked side by side for all those war years. We did learn that Paul’s wife had run off to East Germany with a fellow German, so we assumed he said he would do what he said he would do: ‘Find his wife and child at all costs’! Theo was very different from Paul. He kept in touch for several years telling us of his marriage to a German girl and the subsequent births of their children. He really was a lovely man and we were happy he had married, had children and was happy. We were privileged to have known them both.”
The Home GuardMembers of the Home Guard during WW2
Dunkirk - B.E.F.British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk 1940
SallySally was born in January 1939; 8 months before the beginning of World War 2. As a young child growing up during the years of the war Sally remembers how calm both her parents were when the sirens sounded and all the family were ushered in the Morison Shelter in their living room in Pinner. Her Father was in the London Fire Brigade but also a member of the Home Guard and she vividly remembers him cycling off with a blackened face having been fighting fires from recent bombing raids. It was only when they were visiting some friends of their parents and the woman screamed for everyone to get into the shelter because enemy aircraft were overhead that Sally wondered if there was something to be scared of. The toy house next to Sally was made for her by her father during this time when she was a little girl.
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