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WWII Memories of Jacqueline Bond: Life in Maidenhead

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:17 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

I was born in 1935 and lived in Maidenhead, 21 miles from London.

I have really clear memories of the war- the distinctive engine notes of German planes going to bomb other places further north, usually at night, the red sky when the London Docks and Portsmouth were on fire, the photos in the paper of children hurt in France when refugees were machine-gunned.

It was frightening to be walking in the totally dark streets and only have dim blue lights in the railway station.

One afternoon, there was a huge roar and a German plane swooped low in the gap between the houses. From the garden, I clearly saw the pilot with leather helmet and goggles and the rear gunner - he looked at my father and I for a second. To my surprise they were just normal young men.

In Feb 1944, my grandparents in Chiswick were hit. We used to visit them regularly. Three houses were destroyed with three killed and four dug out, including my grandparents. Both sadly died later.

My parents and I climbed amongst the wreckage and brought what things we could find back home including some tools. Other items were collected from Turnham Green Town Hall where things were laid out by address of where they were found. I still have quite a few of the books.

I saw several V1 (doodlebugs) and one fell on the St Martins jam factory near us, on July 1st 1945 (was my father's' birthday so I remember the day). Fortunately, it was a Saturday afternoon, so not many people working there at the time.

A V2 rocket came down a few miles away and the blast brick wall built in front of the school windows saved the building, the wall rippled but stayed in place. There was no shelter; we had to go to the main hall in an air raid. All children had to put on their gas masks once a week for practice just in case they were needed.

We knew invasion was imminent when fully loaded trains were rumbling through the night for days.

On May 7th, 1945, my mother and I were in Oxford Street on our way to the Middlesex Hospital. The street was deep in paper floating down from the windows and people were really excited saying, "the Germans have given in and it's over". I have a red, white, and blue rosette I picked up that day.

No street party for us but a big bonfire that didn't need to be extinguished before dark. Mother, father, and I sat on St Pauls Cathedral steps to watch the lights in London go on again.

I also have memorabilia from the Sheffield Civil Defence and Fire Service from my in-laws.

History

Item list and details

1. Red, white and blue rosette (collected May 7th 1945 in Oxford Street) 2. Telegram Feb 1944 - notification of "incident" in Chiswick 3. Messages from Elizabeth R for taking in evacuees and George RI for celebrating victory and important war dates on reverse 4. All Clear Sheffield booklet cover - (full booklet if wanted) 5. AFS and ARP items including badges Civil Defence items including badge and armband

Person the story/items relate to

Jacqueline Bond and family- father John, mother Ena

Person who shared the story/items

Jacqueline Bond

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Parents and self

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID

93511