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WW2 - People's War

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User ID: U232633

I was born March 1939, at the Wittington Hospital, Highgate Hill. North London. My WW2 memories began approximately 1942/4. This is my recollection of one such occasion.

It is now November 1944, I believe it was actually Guy Fawkes Day. I was five years old,and Patrick, my brother was seven.

We were being taken to the cinema - The Empire Cinema, on the Holloway Road, North London.

It was Sunday, and after lunch we set off for the afternoon showing. It was raining a little and I was wearing my red mackintosh, wellington boots and holding up a red child's umbrella.

We had taken the short cut through Elthorne Road and I had skipped ahead, still holding the umbrella aloft, and feeling excited at the treat in store.

The next thing that I remember was the sound of someone screaming,very loudly.

I found that I was now in the front doorway of one of the houses, my mackintoch and clothes torn and in tatters. My umbrella had simply gone. My dad appeared, and carried me back to my brother and mother. I found it was my mother who was screaming with fear and shock.

I remember very little of how we walked home, but I do recall the windows were smashed and the door was hanging off.

When I grew older and asked about this incident, I was told that a Rocket had dropped, (I believe it was in Grovedale Road, a few minutes walk from Parolles Road, where we lived), And that it was the blast that had thrown me into the doorway, and caused so much damage.

Patrick and I were not actually hurt, save for a few cuts and bruises, but mum was to suffer the effects of what was the "last straw " upon her nerves.

It was many months before she recovered, and it was rarely spoken of again.

That is, until a few weeks before she died in 1997,aged 87.I had given up my work to look after mum and therefore had the time to sit and talk about her life and the events which shaped them. She repeatedly referred once again to the V2 Rocket and the resulting damage, both to her nerves, and the perceived emotional damage to her children. Actually, I do not think it had a lasting effect on me, although I recall the event clearly.

Mum and I talked about the 'rocket incident' many times, and I assured her Patrick and I were not 'damaged' in any way. She appeared to be happy with that, and she confirmed my childhood memories.

This is just one memory that has remained with me from my wartime childhood.

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