September 1939.

Teddy Bolton, was one of those boys that always seemed to be in trouble.

I found him a very good mate, he shared what ever he had with me, a packet of crisps or sometimes just an apple—the trouble was you never knew where they had come from.

He lived across the road from me, and although mum said he was a bit of a rascal he was always round our house.

Like me, he had lost his father when he was a young boy, may be that was why we were such good friends.

We had been black-berry picking up the hill, not very well though, as most had been picked already.

At the triangle of Cowley Avenue and Pyrcroft road. There was a crowd of people, nearly all our neighbours. And in the middle was Mrs. Salmon. They were all very excited about something.

Teddy took one look and then pushing me up Lasswade Road, he said.

“That looks like trouble, lets go round Sykey Balchins house.”

That’s the sort of life Teddy had, always avoiding grown-ups.

I don’t know why we were running. We hadn’t done anything wrong—but you never know with Teddy.

Basil Leigh, who worked for Mr. Steers, the baker, shouted something as he sped down the road on his delivery bike.

“What did he say, Alan?”

I shrugged, Basil was so out of breath.  I couldn’t hear what he said.

Some ladies were just standing at their gates, talking to each other, it was all very odd.

At the ‘T’ junction of every road, there is a triangle, normally a meeting place for kids under the gas light, in the evening.

Now the one at the top of Lasswade, was once again crowded this time with people, nearly all ladies.


I think Teddy realised it was not him that they were after, and we joined the crowd.

Sykey Balchin, was there and told us that there was a war on with Germany again.

His Dad, also called Sykey, had been in the last war with Germany, and he had told young Sykey, ages ago that we would be fighting the ‘Hun’ again, very soon. But it would be a really quick war, all over in a couple of months.

It seemed to be quite exciting, until that is, I saw my mum with Mrs. Edwards, her husband was in the Royal Navy, they were both very upset.


For the next few weeks we listened to the wireless every night, the news now was about our war, rather than the one far away.

Every one was running around, getting ready for the invasion, that we were told we must be ready for at any moment.

Black-out curtains were given to homes that could not afford them, some people were digging air-raid shelters in their gardens.

We heard that Mr Edward’s ship was some-where in the Pacific Ocean, and luckily, far away from the war.

The Play-house started showing films about how to protect ourselves, in case of an air-raid, and posters saying ‘Careless talk costs lives’.

Some of the young men joined up, including our friends, Pedlar Phillips, who joined the army, and the two Hyde brothers, Glynn and Owen, they all looked very smart in their Navy uniforms.

Deidre’s husband Gordon joined the RAF, and was posted to Scotland straight away, she followed him a couple of months later.

This went on for a few months, but then things settled down, we were ready for anything.







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