The Pathe Gazette newsreel, in the Playhouse’ picture palace, was showing our fighter planes shooting down German bombers, we were all cheering and stamping our feet.
But the pictures of hundreds of enemy aircraft filling the sky, was frightening. This made us all go quiet for a minute or so, then someone started booing, and it was deafening.
I think it was Geoffrey Hunt, who’s job it was to cycle back and forth between Chertsey and Addlestone, taking the news reel from one picture palace to the other. The news was always a week old, but we lapped it up.
Saturday morning picture club, at the ‘Playhouse’ never showed the the news-reels. Cowboy films were exciting enough.
But now things were becoming exciting in real life. German bombers, although sometimes invisible above the clouds. Were recognised by their engines, they had a completely different sound to the Allied planes, a sort of rumbling drone, coming and going.
The clearest view I had of a squadron of ‘Gerry’ planes, was as I was near the Carpenters Arms, coming home from the Saturday morning picture club. They just came into view for a second, then were gone, with just that horrible noise they made.
We were told later that Vickers Armstrong had been hit that morning, with many dead.
The London Blitz was now on the nine o’clock news every night.
On night, mum called us out after we had gone to bed, to see the huge red glow in the sky above London, just twenty miles away. It was like a red rainbow, reaching high in the sky.
We just watched in horror.
Mr Mills, the Air Raid Warden, told mum that after bombing London or other targets nearby, the bombers would follow the shiny railway lines and try to let any bombs that they had left over, fall on the stations or goods yards.
Chertsey station and railway was very close to being hit on several raids, but fortunately they landed in the fields nearby.
Mr Mills, also told mum of a bomb that did land in Chertsey.
A young mother and her three young children had just been evacuated from Battersea, in London, they were living in the lodge of Abbey Chase, when the bomb fell just yards away in the drive.
The mother, gathered her children and fled, she found another place to stay, but less than a mile away. I think she thought that the boatyards on the river Thames were a prime target.
The bombs would soon be coming closer to our end of town.