When I was, the war started when I was ten and my Father was in the army away. So I was essentially just my Mother and I and over six years we became very close, you know, not Mother and son, so much as sort of companions although I was naïve at ten. But by the time I was at the end of the war I was 16, so I was just about becoming a young man if you like and of course the war experiences and what have you made you grow up and…
Where were you living at the time?
In Kent. Saw all the Battle of Britain fantastic. I thought it was, of course I was only ten eleven. Old enough not to be frightened and young enough not to realise how bloody dangerous it was.
Yes, so you were aware of the blitz and the bombing?
Oh well certainly we had some bombing in [Town], but we certainly saw the blitz because when they were hitting London in '41, '42, [Town], is only 35 miles away and the whole the sky. We used to stand at the bedroom windows and you could see all the, looking West, the whole sky lit up, which must have been the glow from round over the world, you know, with the curvature of the earth is that much so you weren’t seeing the actual London fire you were seeing the glow of several hundreds of feet up, you know, on the horizon, unbelievable, and of course it was all censored anyway, you only knew that London was being bombed. I mean we learnt more post war seeing the television than you actually knew when you saw it.
So you experienced the blackout?
Oh yes, yes.
And how was that at night time?
Well I was young enough really not to, you’re invulnerable, you know, nothing happens to you. But I was concerned, I remember you putting it like that, I haven’t thought about this for ages. My mother was terribly frightened, but she was, I thought she was frightened because of me. She was frightened that something would happen to me, which she obviously did, but she was a woman that was on her own and was frightened.
So did she have to pick you up, or did she have to wake you up and take you down to air raid shelters?
No, well yes, several times when the siren went we used to, well we didn’t have an air raid shelter. We had a house that had a cellar and I remember sitting on the cellar steps she and I, you know, with blankets round us when you could hear bombs dropping but as I say [Town], wasn’t being bombed, it was aircraft coming back and they'd turn around at the chaps would say 'I am not going into that lot' and the Germans sort of turned round and just dropped them where they liked so as to get rid of so that if they got home they didn’t turn up with a load of bombs for them to say well where have you been bombing.