University of Oxford
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J Blackburn, POW and childhood memories

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:57 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

As a child, she remembers the fear of doodlebugs and hiding under the stairs, hearing the distinctive throaty noise. She suffered two near misses as shrapnel fell. She also remembers the rationing. Her grandfather was Italian, which meant they were not allowed to live near the coast for fear of spying, so they moved to Wiltshire.

Wing Commander J. R. Blackburn (Father) was in the RAF - joined at the age of 15. He went missing on a mission over the Baltic Sea but had actually been captured and placed in Stalag Luft 1. He escaped twice but was caught each time. He was eventually released by the Russians.

John Elliott was 8 when the war started. His father worked in construction and then became a fire officer. John lived in Brighton, which experienced 'hit and run' raids, with the Germans targeting the gas works near Brighton. John had a Morrison air shelter, which was also used as a dining table. He remembers the rationing.


Item list and details

1. Medals (Blackburn) 2. POW ID card 3. Wartime Log for British POW (notes, drawings, Kipling's "If") 4. Official letters from Air Ministry informing wife of capture 5. Watch and sunglasses 6. Logbook 7. Photos 8. Christmas card 9. Membership of 'Goldfish Club'

Person the story/items relate to

J. R. Blackburn

Person who shared the story/items


Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Father of Julia Elliott

Type of submission

Shared at Skinners School, Kent on 15 September 2023.

Record ID

103630 | SKI026