Может ли мир жить без страха?

Can we have a World without fear?

These are edited extracts from responses to our world-wide email project with U3A Zelenogorsk

Belyakova Toma
(Russia)

Greetings from Russia,my name is Belyakova Toma. I'm 61. I was a little more than 1 years old when the war began. The son of my grandmother was a tank-officer, he was a young, handsome, cheerful man who burned in the tank. The father of my husband died in the war that is why he was brought up by his grandparents. I hate any war.

Beryl Otvos
(England)

I am the wife of Gabor Otvos and you will know from the contribution of my husband (Gabor Otvos) that we live in Pinner, Greater London and that we have 2 sons and 2 grandchildren. I am 62 and I was born in Greater London. I am a retired social worker.

During the war I was evacuated with my mother to a small village in the North of England. My older sister (then aged 5) was evacuated alone to another family in a different town whilst my father stayed in London. He was too old to fight so his job was to try to rescue people who had been buried under the rubble of bombed buildings.

When we returned to London we found that our house had been bombed too but we had to live in it until it could be repaired. I am thankful that my children have never had such disrupted childhoods but I fear for my children and grandchildren in today's world.

Carmella Dight
(Spain)

In 1997 I formed the first U3A on the Costa del Sol, Spain, and since then have been its president. I was born in Belgrade in 1939. In April 1941 my mother, grandmother and I fled our house, just before a German bomb flattened it.

During the next four years my mother and I lived with my aunt in the outskirts of Belgrade (Zemun) under assumed Christian names as we were Jewish and in danger of being sent to a concentration camp. My uncle, who was half Russian and half Montenegrin, a member of the communist underground in Belgrade before the war, forged documents for the two of us. I was told to forget my real name and that of my mother and also my father who had been shot by the Germans in the same year.

My mother and I lived more or less in hiding during the four years, food was very scarce, and as a result I suffered from malnutrition and developed rickets. My greatest fear was going into a bunker at night, when the bombs showered our city. The screech of sirens sent shudders down my spine, and I used to hide under the table. My only comfort was my mother with whom I shared a bed. She sang to me, in spite of her sadness, and told me stories.

Whenever I could, I went out exploring my aunt's garden and playing with my cousin, but he was ten years' older than I, and didn't really want to play with me. I become a lonely child, loneliness still haunts me. My toys were my mother's few pots and pans and wooden spoons. She taught me to read and write at an early age, which opened new horizons for me and enriched my world.

In this world full of pain and sorrow, we ask ourselves why hasn't the human race learnt from past history to eliminate wars, poverty, hunger and disease? What is it that drives people to destroy, dispossess and distort? The sad and simple answer - human nature.

The theme of the project "it must never happen again" although plausible, is impossible. We cannot have a world without fear as long as religion and politics dominate our lives.

People on individual basis, or small groups have good intentions and charity at heart. They stand together in times of trouble or celebration. Yet, once exposed to political and religious manipulation including mass media, the majority succumbs. We have seen it in the past, and we see it in the present. What can we teach the new generation? I am afraid we have not set good examples. We have not shown tolerance, unanimity, social and racial justice. On the contrary, we have intensified the materialistic and corrupt world, which stretches throughout the continents. Karl Marx's utopian Manifesto has failed, the workers of the world have not united. Nevertheless, Western societies have developed democracies and improved the lot of the masses, and to a certain degree a modus operandi between social and economic justice has been reached. Dictatorial regimes still evoke fear and are a threat to personal freedom. The new generation must strive towards equality and justice - ignoring them at their peril. Liberal education, religious and political freedom and cultural enlightenment are the main ingredients for a free and better world, but then human forces interfere.

Apologies for being so pessimistic.

Val Williams
(England)

I am female, aged 74, have lived in the UK all my life and was evacuated to various locations in WWII. It is a lovely thought that modern communication techniques have brought us so much closer together and that war will soon be unthinkable. Unfortunately I think this is a pious hope. I believe Mark Twain said something similar to a group of German friends in the 1920s ("It is unthinkable that our two nations will ever again go to war with each other...")!

And we do not need the lessons of Yugoslavia and Rwanda to tell us that neighbours and friends can fall out to a murderous extent. We already know the bitter enmity that can arise even within a family. This tendency is deeply entrenched - bred in us by nature and sustained for a necessary evolutionary purpose. I don't think we will ever rid ourselves entirely of the compulsion to see others as an out-group when we consider ourselves at risk. I think our only hope is in learning to control this - just as we have learned to control so many other inbred tendencies.

We are on a long journey and we need patience as well as determination for this. I think stories - true and fictional - and other invitations to empathy have an important role to play. We must not forget, either, that the terrible inequalities in the world today are a festering sore which can only make things worse. So when we Westerners go out to buy the latest luxury for the house or garden, perhaps we should remember that every sale increases demand for these things and that someone, somewhere, on the end of the chain is growing poorer while we are getting richer.

Ludmila Chernih
(Russia)

My name is Ludmila Chernih. I was born 11th of may 1948. I have 2 higher education certificates. I live in Zelenogorsk. During the World War I was not yet born.

I want to tell you about my trip to Poland. I was in Maydanek, I visited the exhibitions devoted to World War I saw the stoves of crematorium, gallows, heaps of hair, toys,shoes, clothes of the prisoners. Also I was in Osventhim, in solder's semetery in Vrozhlav, I saw a monument like a cup with 1500 cubic metres of human ashes. I should say that it's very terrible to imagine how it was!

I think in order to stop war-period we should orginize visits around memorial places for children they could understand that horror which is given by the war.

I'm a sociable person and I deal with public work in our town. To tell the truth, I should say that I feel restricted in Zelenogorsk, so I'm very glad that the possibility of participating in the international project occurs in the Center of education. I've known new people,shared my war-ideas with them etc.It's very good that there is the project!

Roy Walker
(England)

I am aged 63 and married to Margaret. We are both retired schoolteachers, I of German and Margaret of Mathematics. We live in the small town of Buckingham, about 55 miles to the north-west of London and not far from Oxford. We have two daughters: Elizabeth aged 35, an American citizen who lives in the USA not far from New York, and Katherine aged 34 who lives in London with her fiance, son Oliver, one year old, and dog Shakey.

We both belong to the local U3A and to the Walking Group. I am also a member of three language groups (Russian, German and Italian) and of the Art Appreciation Group, whilst Margaret belongs to the Handicrafts group.

I am very fond of travelling, visit our daughter in America every year, have been to many West European countries, and to Russia several times. In May we are planning to visit the Ukraine.

During the Second World War I was a very small boy at home in the village where I lived in Leicestershire, so I do not have very many memories of the war apart from what I was told by my parents and some older friends. I remember the "blackout" when my father had to black out all the lights so that they would not be seen by enemy bombers. All the road signs were taken down. Once my father was asked the way to Derby by a stranger, and two days later an ammunitions dump near there exploded. He often wondered afterwards whether he had naively given directions to a spy. My father-in-law worked for an aircraft company near Bristol, and once the factory was heavily bombed. After that they built it underground, far away in the country. My German friend remembers being liberated by the Americans. When she was in hospital the soldiers gave her chocolates. Of course, I have seen many films of the destruction and havoc war can cause.

The world w\out fear.

I think this has been an excellent project. Not only has it brought our two organisations together, but through this contact I myself have been introduced to a teacher at the Zelenogorsk University with whom I can correspond in Russian. I have already had a personal friend in St Petersburg for the past 15 years, and through him I have come to understand the Russian people much better. I do believe that personal contact is a great way of promoting understanding between people and thus guarding against hostilities and war. Our efforts may be small and individual and not always succeed, but if we learn about the culture, history and language of other nations, it is a very positive step.

Recently I have become a member of an organisation based in Moscow and the UK which assists Russian orphans, and the experience has been very gratifying. So I would also recommend helping others who are less well off than ourselves as being another very positive way of contributing to peace between nations and all that it brings.

Galina Filipieva
(Russia)

My name is Galina Filipieva. I'm 61 years old,I'm married,I'm a pensioner. I was born in Moscow, when the 3rd year of War had been going. My mother was working at war hospital, she cured injured men. I was in day and night kindergarden. In 1944 my father died at the front. He was a lieutenant. I remember one of post war parade in 1949, I was 6 years old. All children from our neighbourhood ran out from their houses to watch moving war machines on the square there were tanks, Katusha rockets etc. We were looking at them with great pride. Then the time passed unnoticed and I was already on the Red Square and stared at the tribune of Mavzoley and saw Stalin, who smiled and waved his hand. It was very unforgetable day for me!

Tom Conway
(Scotland)

The only way to have a world without fear is to have a world without weapons.We must unite to begin a reduction not only in nuclear weapons but even more importantly in small arms.These are now everywhere and are increasingly cheap. Governments must withdraw licenses and provide other employment for armament manufacturers. This is URGENT. Western countries should start by giving the example and eventually do away first with nuclear weapons altogether and eventually with standing armies. Costa Rica seems to be the first to have done this.

I am now a pacifist! I was already an officer cadet in 1937 but I was lucky not to have gone to France in !940. However in 1941 I went by sea right round the south of Africa to fight in the desert for the next three years. After the defeat of the Afrika Korps at the Battle of El Alamein we went to India to fight the Japanese and I did not see my mother for nearly five years as I returned in 1946. I am 86 this year. Now my ambition is to
learn to write in Russian so that I can send emails to our wonderful
Siberian friends in their language. Pazhalsta .
Tom Conway - a soldier of WW2

Fred Thornett
(Australia)

I am 66 and married to Ludmila who is 55. We live in Hobart, the capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania. I am semi-retired. My last full time job was as the Director of Health and Benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Tasmania. I still work part-time as a member of the Mental Health Tribunal. I also spend one or two days a week in the Magistrates Court presiding in Committal Hearings, Traffic Courts and after hours Bail Courts.

During WW2 I spent the early part of it as a small child in Queensland where my father, who had been a gold miner, was taken out of the Airforce and ordered under the "Manpower Act" to become a copper miner in a strategically important copper, gold and silver mine at Mount Morgan. I can remember a glider full of American soldiers which was on its way to invade New Guinea, but which crash landed in our backyard. None of the soldiers were killed.

I can recall much from WW2. In particular I remember how we had food rationing which reduced the amount of sweets I could buy and how some other food was a little restricted. Our civilian privations, however, were slight compared with those of the people of Europe. Our service personnel also suffered few deaths compared with other allied forces. The whole of Australia which had a million people in the forces out of a population of seven million, had only about 20,000 killed in WW2. This was the approximate number of Red Army soldiers killed every two days throughout the whole war.

In 2001 and 2004 I was able to be in Moscow on 9 May when the celebrations are held of the Red Army's victory in the Great Patriotic War - WW2 to the rest of the world. This is one of the really great public celebrations of the world. If ever you can, go to the main war memorial in Moscow on 9 May and see how respectfully the people treat the war veterans. Little children offer flowers to old soldiers. Ageing sailors and soldiers wear their former uniforms - if they can still get into them. The place is littered with Generals, Colonels and sundry other officers in their ageing finery. I managed to have my photo taken with a Sergeant, the only one I saw in the tens of thousands of veterans.

In 2004 I visited Kozi Gory (Goat Hill) near Smolensk in Western Russia and went to the site and museum where there are buried thousands of Polish Officers who were captured by the USSR forces when the Soviets and the NAZIs divided most of Poland between them just before the beginning of WW2. These hapless men were all taken by the NKVD to Kozi Gory and murdered in the pine forest and buried in several mass graves. At this site are also the graves of several thousand ordinary Russians murdered by the NKVD as part of the Stalinist terror campaigns. When I came back to Hobart I was giving a talk to an ex-servicemen's organization when a member came forward to say that his father was one of the Polish officers who was murdered.

Gabor Otvos
(England)

My name is Gabor Otvos and I am 63 years old. I am a retired architect and I live in Pinner, which is in the Harrow district of Greater London. My wife is called Beryl and we have two grown up sons and two grandchildren. I was born during the war in Budapest, Hungary and I was there until my home city was liberated (as you know) by the Red Army. Budapest was occupied by the Germans in March 1944 and a period of terror followed especially for the Jewish people. My family was Jewish so we had to change our name and go into hiding. My father was sent to the Russian front as a forced labourer (Hungary was an ally of Germany). These experiences affected me for the rest of my life.

I fully agree with your project : this must never happen again! For this reason I belong to an English organisation called 'Movement for the Abolition of War', website www.abolishwar.org.uk

My best wishes to you for a successful project.

Tom Holloway
(England)

I was very moved by the stories from Russia. We are all aware that the former Soviet Union was the country with the most civilians killed during that war -- the estimated figures can be seen on my Timewitnesses website at http://timewitnesses.org/english/howmany.html

But the question remains, what can we senior citizens do to try to reduce this terrible tendency to kill each other in large numbers? I would agree with Carmella Dight that political and religious bigotry play a large part. We can all believe that we are 'right', but when people say in their heart "... then it follows that all others are wrong and we must punish them for it" we take a terrible step, and when governments and authorities encourage us in taking that step then civilians will die.

I believe that the technology we are now using will allow us to reach and understand each other. In the 1930s it would be unimaginable for ordinary people of Germany, France, Britain, Russia to be able to exchange greetings and ideas in the way we are now doing. And perhaps we can do more - even to visit each other. I am hoping to visit Zelenogorsk later this year, and it is my great wish that one day we can welcome U3A visitors from Siberia to visit us here in England.

How can we make that possible? I do not know - but perhaps if enough of us want it to happen we can make it so.

Eileen Perrin
(England)

Thoughts on Helping to Prevent War in the Future. I was born in December 1922. My father served in the Army in the 12th London Rangers, in World War 1. He was taken prisoner by the Germans, survived a long march into Belgium, with his feet wrapped in old rags because the guards had stolen his boots, kept in an old schoolhouse, from what I remember, and came home to marry the sweetheart who had waited for him. He never talked much about the war. I do not study politics, so have no idea what caused that war. No one quite understands why we go to war, but the ordinary people are the ones who suffer, always. Being a woman I blame the men - quite.

As far as I know there are no school lessons in Preventing War. History lessons play up the best side of the home country. Wars are not seen as real, just accounts and dates in text books. Just as the war games in the violent video games that most children, (especially boys) are allowed to amuse themselves with, do not seem at all connected to reality. This is down to the child's family's inability to think sensibly.

But from where does the taste for violence arise ? Brainwashing the young with an idea that they are only puppets playing war games. So, all that sort of thing should be banned from sale in future. In school children are imbued with the desire to go one better and to win, and so competition is born,….to have more, to be the winner, to be top. In the world of finance, and trade among nations, it is difficult not to be greedy, and to want the market to go your way.

Religious leaders around the world are constantly sowing seeds - not wanting to recognise or accept the principles of another faith. This has always led to hate, aggression, persecution and war, as we see today when religious leaders lay down rules that lead to anything but the integration that we all so desperately need. Even non-religious movements once attaining power, become as religions in themselves and promulgate confrontations, persecution and violence.

Most importantly, too few regard the need for conservation of the planet and continually waste our resources. At the root of their neglect is thoughtless greed, wanting more at any expense, as we witness in the devastation of the great forests in South America and elsewhere.


Nelly Simonova
(Russia)

I was born in 1949 when the war ended, but it's reverberations touched all my generation. Those years were very hungry. When I was 3-6 years old we were living in one of the siberian villages - we had a cow but there was no milk, butter, cream, because all the products were taken by the government as taxes. In spring time the stock of cabbage (sauerkraut) was ended, that's why my grandmother put in borsch instead of cabbage some grass.

Also I remember that in those years children played in most cases in the game called "?"-war.The children were gathered in 2 big teams - one team called - Russian, another one-german. We run, hid, shouted with home-made weapons. In short, we imitated the real war, at the end of the game we gave to winners the medals cut from the newspapers.

Here is my message. Can we have a World without fear? I think in order to prevent war it's enough for each person to carry out God's 10 commandments. They are registered in all religions of the world, even in the manifesto of Communist party.

Love to everybody!

Peter Hannemann
(Australia)
I'm now an Australian citizen, was born in 1935 and grew up in Berlin, Germany during the war.

This war was for me, as for millions of others, the most important event in my life. It helped in shaping me into what I'm today. For most of the time of the war I was in Berlin right to the bitter end when the Red Army liberated Berlin from the Nazis.

Most of Berlin was just rubble due to the bombing of the Allied air raids and the final assault of the Red Army. But you will be surprised to hear that I was never afraid even when the Katusha rockets went over our heads and the big bombs of the American bombers hit our district.

In the end, the first Russian I saw came up to me and and told me to lower my arms, as I don't have to surrender, as Russian soldiers are not making war against children.

To stop all wars we have to change the culture of being willing to go to war. That could take several generations of educating people. Globalisation has a positive side too. People get to know each other better and understand that they are all the same. We all struggle to survive and have the same aspirations for our children. That does not mean we have to be at our throats. Co-operation is the word we should use more often when we want to deal with our problems.

This willingness to help and co-operate was demonstrated during the recent Tsunami disaster. We all felt we were linked to those unfortunate people. If we feel we need to help people in far away countries , why not feel the same for our neighbours.

So, if we respect our neighbours they might respect us too and one day we might even love each others, The Polish and the German people have a very good relationship since that most terrible of all wars. Someone must have learnt something.

Education is the only thing that can help in our quest "to stop war". They have to be stopped before they start. By education I mean not only school education but the meeting of ordinary people in their daily life where they unlearn all those old prejudices and learn to "love they neighbour". I still live in hope.

Love to everyone that takes part in this project.

Galina Smachkova
(Russia)
I was born in Petropavlovsk 2 years before the 2nd World war. My gr.fathers, father and his brothers were taken for fighting.

Children in the age of 8-10-14 were working in a farm, they grow vegetables, bred the cattle. Gr.fathers and my uncles didn't come home after the war. A lot of families had got funeral papers which were about their dead men.

All the harvest was sent to the front of the war. All the people lived under the statement - All for the front of the war, all for the victory!"

Stanley Miller
(England)
Although I have spent all of my adult life in the Midlands, I was born and lived during nearly all of World War 2 in Wembley in the north-west suburbs of London. This part of London is famous for its stadium where many national and international sporting events have taken place, including the 1948 Olympic Games.

On the 3rd of September 1939 I was 6 years old and spending the summer holidays with my family in Saltdene, near Brighton on the south coast. I can clearly remember that as my father and I walked along the road a cyclist rode by shouting "War is declared!" and then, in the weeks that followed, nothing much seemed to happen and life carried on much as before.

The Primary school I attended was a two-storey building dating from the earlier part of the century. Standing on a hillside, the play-ground at the rear of the building sloped down towards a neighborouring park. Underneath the building was a rain-shelter with benches along the walls to sit on. This was soon turned into an air-raid shelter by the simple device of placing a brick wall across its previously open front. So, once the daylight bombing raids began, many of my lessons were spent in this uncomfortable, unheated shelter - had a bomb landed on the school I am sure we would all have been buried underneath ! Fortunately, this didn't happen and although we did have bombs landing in our district, we were spared the destruction which occurred in central London and around the docks where my grandmother, aunts and uncles lived. During the London "blitz" they would arrive each evening to sleep where they could in our house - on settees, mattresses, on the floor or under tables - the youngest was my 6 month old cousin and the oldest my grandmother then in her late 60s.

The other main memories I have of those 6 years of war were of food rationing; the comings and goings of neighbours who reported to my father who was chief fire-watcher for the street; my introduction to comics (Superman) and chocolate from America delivered by soldiers who were either relatives or friends of relatives living in the USA and then the frightening arrival of the V1 and V2 rockets towards the end of the war.

Despite all this, I think we were very fortunate compared with so many others in Europe and beyond

Nina Solodov-nikova
(Russia)
My name is Nina Solodovnikova. I live in Zelenogorsk.The last 30 years I had been working as a teacher of chemistry and biology. I have 2 children, they are grown.

When the war began my parents and their brothers and sisters were very young and studied at school - 22nd of June 1941 the studying for most of them was ended--they went to work. Solid rear was useful for fighting with the enemy.My mother and her sister worked at the plant where shells were produced.My father was 16 years old and he went to work as a stoker. In 1943 he was 18 and was taken to serve in the army. At the begining of his service he studied art of war at the course of radio-operator. In 1944 my father was sent to the front. He fought on Belorussia front and participated in liberation of Belorussia. He met the Victory in Liepaya.

My parents died but I remember their stories about war - how my father walked through the marshes, broke out of encirclement, participated in hand-to-hand fight with the enemies, and when father's commander was injured he made much of him from fighting battle. This brave action was nnoticed, he was awarded the order of Glory. He told me that nobody thought about fear during the fight; but it came terribly when the fight ended.

War separates people from each other, making them enemies. If the people of different races and nationalities become friends they will never have wish to fight with each other. I think we should reduce the aggression in bringing up children, in Mass Media.

Jean Thompson
(England)
When war broke out, I was 11 and about to transfer to a High School a few miles away, near a heavy industry area of Manchester. I was evacuated with the school to Macclesfield but I was very unhappy and glad that we returned home after a year.

The school was completely destroyed in the Manchester Christmas blitz, as were three other buildings where the school was re-housed. The school was re-evacuated to Blackpool, but I, and many other pupils pleaded not to go. I and about half the pupils and teachers remained in Manchester while the rest left. Each year the teachers changed over, so we had a different teacher for each subject each year.

We ended up in a cramped primary school. The windows were frequently blown out, so we wore our hats and coats all the time. My desk was right by the window and I discovered that if I concentrated hard on the lesson, I could forget how cold I was. When the bell went, we all rushed out into the corridor to warm our hands on the radiators. Not a good idea. I ended up with chilblains so bad I couldn't bend my fingers.

At the back of the classroom was a primus stove with a big cauldron where the Domestic Science teacher made soup for the school dinner. I never gave a thought to the problems our teachers were having, even when we had to go to school right through the holidays because our parents were on essential war work. At the end of the war, I wasn't called up because I had a university place. After University I joined the RAF

World w\out fear.

Creating a world without fear. For some unknown reason, since I was a child, I have been fascinated by other countries and their people. I longed to learn languages so I could communicate with them. I wanted to understand them, so there wouldn't be another war. Fortunately I lived in various countries, including Cyprus, USA, Ireland and most recently, Brazil. Plenty of opportunities to learn languages and struggle to understand the conflicts. I spent a lot of time on Esperanto, (which I still think is a wonderful language) but gave up hope that it would be a world influence. I am on the side of those who think an individual's efforts to understand can make a difference. I agree with Tom that electronic communication gives us new opportunities and I work hard to build up links around the world. Often disillusioned but I still think it's worthwhile! Jean Thompson

End of project

Here's my final entry, Elena, for your World without Fear project. I found the project thought-provoking and positive. It was very well-timed, coming as it did at the 60th Anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, when we who lived through it were reminded about all the issues involved. I specially liked the suggestion that we should approach the younger generation and try to convey our life experience. I spoke with each of my five children, now middle-aged, and felt encouraged to talk to my grandchildren. As an international project, it had great potential, as we can learn so much from another country's perspective. When 'Cooperation' has grown larger, I hope we'll tackle something similar again. Many thanks to Elena for organising the project. With best wishes, Jean - Coordinator U3A Internetwork

Valerie Shaw
(England)
I am 66 years old and I live in a small market town called Buckingham, in the centre of England. I have three grown-up sons: the eldest works in computers in Nottingham, the second is a Civil Servant in Leeds and the youngest sings with the choir of Norwich Cathedral and teaches percussion. I live with my husband Geoffrey who organises conferences for school children.

I have been an enthusiastic member of our U3A since it began seven years ago. I follow classes in play-reading, square dancing, French, Spanish and Russian. For the Russian we have just a small group of three.

During World War 2 I lived in the suburbs of London. I was only small but I remember having to hide in our converted coal house when the "doodle-bugs" came over London. We could hear the whine of their engines and when that stopped, we knew the bomb was about to fall. I watched one going over the houses some distance away and I could sense my parents' fear. The house next door to ours was destroyed but I had gone to stay with my grandmother in Birmingham at that time. My father belonged to the Home Guard; he could not be a soldier because he was valuable to the government as a tele-communications engineer. He had to go out at night to patrol the streets to make sure everyone had black blinds covering their windows and to report on fires and bomb attacks.

Certainly, it must never happen again.

The best way to prevent this is for individuals to communicate, as you are doing, to make friends with people all over the world. It is much more difficult to go to war against your friends than against people you do not trust.

Good luck for your project!

Walter Sargaison
(England)

My name is Walter and I am now 78 years old, and am British (I was born in Scotland, of a Scottish mother and an Irish father!).

I grew up in London, but after completing my education worked in several areas of England in the Inland Revenue, before returning to the South-East about forty years ago. I am married, have three children (aged 40, 38 and 37), and three (soon to be four) grandchildren. Christian (Anglican) by religion, and a regular churchgoer, where I sing in the choir. I hope that is enough about me now!

When the war broke out in 1939, I was a schoolboy living in South-East London, where I attended a day school. The school was evacuated from Dulwich to Tonbridge (in Kent) in September 1939. In hindsight, this was a rather ill-considered move since the risk of bombing raids was almost as great in Kent as it was in London. We returned to Dulwich at Christmas 1939, and for the rest of the war I went each day to school. On the whole we were fortunate, because the bombs that fell (and there were several) did not seriously disrupt our daily life. We had windows shattered at home and roof tiles dislodged, and for a long period there was virtually no gas supply in our house, but otherwise life carried on with food rationing and general shortages.

Towards the end of the war, in 1944, the Germans began raids with unmanned rocket propelled planes, the V1, that were called Doodlebugs. They arrived unexpectedly, and simply fell to the ground with a large explosion. Ours arrived in June 1944. I recall to this day being awakened very early in the morning with a loud screeching noise. In a couple of seconds I was out of my bed and underneath it, just in time before the ceiling fell down on top of the bed. That is probably too much about my wartime experiences....

   
 
Webmonger: Tom Holloway
27th May 2005
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