Tuesday, 28 March 2017

War Baby ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 28 .........

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby, Eddy prefaced the next two stories with the comment that “I am afraid my blogs are not in any chronological order”  which is fine by me.

1940-1944 are years I have few memories. These was spent running to air raid shelters when a bomb scare was on, and carrying out the day to day business as best as the population can.

On 4th November 1944 my brother David was born in Woking Surrey as by this time the capital was under threat from Hitler’s V1 and V2 rockets. And once more pregnant mothers were encouraged to be evacuated to a safer place.

Dad and the army were on the move again and grandmother (Sara) wanted mother and me to be closer to her home and so rented accommodation was found at number 9 Braganza Street, Kennington, South London.

Kennington tube station was about 50 yards from the house. No 9 was in a row of terraced house and built on three levels. We moved into the middle flat. What I remember that at the back were a kitchen and scullery.

There was a bedroom with a window looking to the back of the house, and at the front, a living room overlooking the street and next to that was a small bedroom (mine).

In the front living room was dad’s prize procession a baby upright piano bought for around £35 from a music shop called Barnes in Oxford Street London. This piano was to be part of our lives for the next forty years.

This was a wedding present that they bought themselves using mum’s inheritance from her granddad.

The group photo was taken in Oakhurst Grove.  Note there are ny husband in thes photo as they are all overseas. Note the photo on the piano it is of my dad Ted.

Across the road was Gaza Street leading to the primary school and a bomb site. Nan’s flat was about a five minutes walk away.

There was a pub with a yard next to it and Kennington Park was about ten minutes away. Bombs falling and wartime disruption did not affect me in any way.

Of course, I vaguely remember being woken up in the night by the sirens going off, and being wrapped in a bed quilt and carried to the underground station or a Morrison shelter in case a bomb fell on our house, it never did.

For years, I used to have vivid dreams about tube trains sucking me into the tunnel and falling onto the railway line. I had a fear of going on the tube right up to the time I started work in London and had to travel on it. Trips out were very often to the park or to nanny visit.

Sometimes I would go out on my own with a friend or two and make our way to the park. The park was locked up at 7 o’clock and one day I got locked in. I became panicky when I could not get out through the gates. By this time mum had come to find me and with her outside and me inside wondering what to do.

However I decided that I was not going to stay in the park anymore I climbed over the gate much to the horror of the mother but glad I made it out.

I was always wondering off to explore the bomb sites. At one time on a long summer evening I decided to go home from the bomb site it must have been about 10 o’ clock. Father was on leave at the time and in I went only to find out that dad and mum had called the police and reported me missing.

1945 after the war had ended. I was taken to the top of our street at the junction of Kennington Park Road to see the victory parade go by. Military bands, marching soldiers, tanks, navy personnel, big guns and still more bands. The climax of this was to see Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery with his famous berry standing up in the back of his jeep waving to the crowd. A historical moment which at the time was lost on me, but later on in life I realised its importance to Londoners as the crowds were huge.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Pictures; from the collection of Eddy Newport

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