University of Oxford
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If you build something, build it to last!

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:11 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My parents married in 1937. Dad was a regular soldier when the war broke out, and in 1940 my mother was seven months pregnant with me. When war broke out Dad was stationed in Prestatyn Holiday Camp, which had only been open for a week when the Army requisitioned it and my mother was living with my grandparents in Lewisham, South London. My grandfather was a Foreman on the Gas Board, and because he earned over the limit, he had to provide his own air raid shelter. My two uncles helped him build it in the garden. The house backed onto the railway line, and German bombers often dropped the remainder of their bombs on the railway lines as they returned to Germany. Unfortunately they were easy to see on a moonlit night. On one such night the siren sounded and my gran and my mother went into the shelter. Grandad was out mending gas mains, but when he got home in the morning, there was a pile of earth where the shelter had been. He got the neighbours to help dig it out, but when they got to where the door should be, it wasn't there. The whole shelter had turned round 90 degrees with my mother and grandmother in it - completely unharmed. The next day we were put on a train to Prestatyn, and that is where I was born two months later.


Person the story/items relate to

Kathleen Driscoll, Emily and Frank Morgan

Person who shared the story/items

Judith Purssell

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Mother, grandmother and Grandfather.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

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