University of Oxford
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A London Child's War

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posted on 2024-06-05, 19:46 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Born in 1934. In the bath when the sirens went off, bombed in Battersea. Saw the inferno at the end of the street. Westbridge Road was targeted, including Morgan's Factory and Battersea Bridge.

A friend, Ken, went to school with a train set, which was bombed and lost. That was when we realised how the war would affect us. The bomb site became an adventure playground; we walked along rafters, and the static water tank had dead cats in it.

Not evacuated in the initial phase, but later to East Leach, Gloucestershire. Stayed with my mother there for about a year. Moved to an isolated area, with two semi-detached houses, and woke up to find it had been bombed. I woke up covered in plaster.

Came to Pitsea, Essex, to stay with grandparents. They had an Anderson shelter. Stayed there for about two years.

No shelter at school. We had gas masks, which were taken to school.

Dad was in the Army; he was a batman. In his 40s, he was one of the last to be called up. Mum took his place in the factory. Dad was always moving about.

I was 11 at the end of the war. VE Day and VJ Day were marked with parties.

Remembers houses like dollhouses, open at the front.

Moved back to Battersea after the war, and I did National Service.


Item list and details


Person the story/items relate to

Norman Lilley

Person who shared the story/items

Norman Albert Lilley

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at West Meads Community Hall, West Sussex on 11 November 2023. The event was organised by Bognor Regis u3a.

Record ID

105338 | BOG019