56, Ash Wednesday.

Every night on the wireless we hear of another city being liberated, the allies are getting closer to the German border. In the picture palace we see the poor people looking from the ruins of their homes. They are cheering our troops driving through the streets, it is a wonder to me how anyone could have lived in such a mess. They had no clean water, and how could they keep warm without gas or electricity, it looked so cold with snow piled up on the sides of the road. How would the towns ever be put back together?

 A few weeks later, on the newsreel, we saw the first German city taken by the allies. There is some cheering from the audience in the cinema as we see a pile bricks and rubble that was once a German town, but then a hush as the film zooms into the faces of some children, they look just the same as our kids when the blitz was in full flow. The commentators voice sounded sad as he said this was the ugly face of any war. I heard someone behind me shout out. “They started it”.

At last, we have a letter from Bernard, it’s a couple of weeks old, he can’t tell us much, but it sounds as if he is somewhere warm, because he says he says he’s getting a tan, that’s better than being in Germany with all the snow. It also means he is fit enough to go back into the war, we never knew why he was in hospital. Mum had hoped he would be sent home, and put in St Peter’s Hospital just up the road.

With all the news about the war, there is some good news. Little David is home with us again. I haven’t seen him for ages, he has changed so much, and mum is having some trouble with him. I saw him tear up a shirt because he didn’t like it, and then he broke a model plane I was making into a hundred pieces. I wasn’t too upset about it though, it was all going wrong, and I would never have finished it.

Our victory bonfire is now out in the road, but it’s not stopping any traffic because it’s next to the triangle at the top, and there’s plenty of room for traffic to pass by, there’s not much of that anyway as it’s no-through road. The worry now is a threat from the Barker Road crowd, who say they are going to set it alight before VE day, but I think they are just saying that for fun. Otherwise, as Arthur Wade said, it would start another war, that’s something we can do without.

The news is now all about a huge, allied bombing raid on an old German town, called Dresden, it is completely burnt to the ground. The news commentator seemed to think it was to avenge the bombing of Coventry, a similar sized city that was burnt so badly that the lead from the roof of Coventry Cathedral flowed like a river down the high street. 

He said the air raid gave a new meaning to Ash Wednesday.

Author: madeinchertsey

Born in 1932, this is a collection of stories of my childhood growing up in Chertsey, and some stories of my later life.

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