University of Oxford
2 files

Childhood Memories of the War - Jordan Jordan & Family

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:25 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Had a privileged life before the war. In Autumn 1940 'all hell broke loose'. The port she lived near was bombed very hard. V1 and V2 bombs were truly frightening. Father had left to fight, nanny left to work in a warehouse. Went to live with my grandparents. Their house took a direct hit, up in the front part of the house and buried in the roof. Only survived because a beam fell on top of her cot and protected her. Lived near an estuary which later in the war was turned into a building ground for planes used in the D-Day landing. Never found by the bombers because it was so well camouflaged. Very bad bombing raid one night. Lots of people thought it would be better to leave the town - walked in the dark towards Swanpool (southwest of the town), and could only see lights from explosions as shining any lights themselves would attract bombers. The massive explosion in Swanpool was caused by a direct hit on a petrol storage tank and she was blown back by the force of hot air.

Later in the war, they went to live in Plymouth so her father could see her and her grandmother at the same time. Was given a wooden pencil box which had been carved in Poland by her aunt's fianc� who was later killed before he could marry the aunt. Plymouth was badly bombed but nothing hit the house. There was a lot of devastation which affected basic life. The church took a direct hit and became an empty shell of burning beams. Had to grow a lot of their own food because of rationing. Walking to school one day and saw a German bomber so jumped into the ditch as soon as it started shooting, missed her by seconds, only 7 or 8 years old at the time. Taken to the Houses of Parliament to hear Winston Churchill 'amazing man'. Hearing him declare the end of the war still makes her emotional.


Item list and details

1. Book: De Gaulle's France and the Key to the Coming Invasion of Germany. 2. Book: Instructions for British Servicemen in France.

Person the story/items relate to

Penelope Jordan and her family

Person who shared the story/items

Penelope Jordan

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Parents and grandparents

Type of submission

Shared at Oundle School, Northamptonshire on 15 March 2023.

Record ID

106728 | OUN005