Now, as things go into a lull, at least in Chertsey. It’s rare to see any-one carrying a gas mask. Air-raid sirens still go off, but are usually false alarms. That’s not to say that Britain is not being bombed on a daily basis some where. On the news we hear of air-raids happening all over the country.
Some of the shelters in our area, were little more than a brick shed, such as the one in the Picture Palace car park, it was so flimsy, you would have to be very frightened to have used it—it was mainly used as a toilet.
The shelter nearest our house, was at the junction of Pyrcroft and Barker Roads. This one was a proper underground shelter, and built to give good cover. it’s another that was not very popular though. Partly because it also smelled, but mainly as it was just yards from the railway lines and Chertsey station— Several bombs had fallen in the nearby fields, by German bombers returning from a raid, miles away. The shiny lines of the rails, showing where to drop them.
Despite how matter-of fact this may seem. The sound of the siren starting slowly, then going into the rise and fall of an air-raid warning, still made us all run as fast as we could to the nearest shelter, we paid little heed to the smell, we just wanted to get in.
I had just left The Curfew Café, in Pyrcroft Road— not for tea or anything, but Izzi’s, our nearest shop, had run out of Woodbines for mum and the café had them—when off went the siren, I ran across to the nearest one.
Down Barker Road, running as fast as he could was a man, shouting at the top of his voice.
“Everyone quickly into the shelter.”
As if anyone needed telling.
There was crowd further up, gathered round a lady who had fallen over in the panic, she was carrying a tiny baby, I saw it was my friend, Wendy’s mum, Wendy and her other sister, were standing by looking terrified.
Years later, Wendy told me the man shouting, was her dad, he had gone ahead to make sure they would have a place in the shelter, as it quickly filled up.
For the whole of the war, I had only used a shelter three or four times, all false alarms.
A siren did not sound, the night a British fighter plane crashed into an oak tree, along ‘The Old Coach Road’, in St Anne’s hill, sadly the pilot died.
The army stopped anyone from going anywhere near, until every scrap of the plane was removed.
When the shrapnel hunters arrived, all that could be seen was the damaged tree, with a large cross painted in white on the tree trunk.
The lull was temporary; News came that Mrs. Edwards husband was missing at sea.
A local Fireman, was killed in an accident, when he lost control of his high pressure hose.
The war was still full on.