Chertsey Tales Part Six

Chertsey Tales Part Six.

In the weeks that followed a man came round to show us how to put up the black-out curtains and the gummed paper on all the glass. This was a job for us children, it took ages. All the gas streetlights were put out and any cars that could be used had to have dimmed lights and white stripes painted on the mudguards. Street signs were taken down so as not to show Gerry where he was. Even the Green Line coaches vanished from the parking place next to The Carpenters Arms. They were converted to ambulances for London. White lines were painted on the kerbs of the pavements, the nights were very dark and creepy.

When I was sent up to Mrs Hughes fish and chip shop in the evening, there were two doors all painted black. You went in one door and closed it behind you then you opened the other door into the shop. This was so that no light would be shown to any Gerry bombers flying by. We don’t want Mrs Hughes to be bombed, do we?

Evacuees started coming from London, they all looked very clean and smart with their shiny shoes. They had a label with their name pinned to their coats. They were taken to the Constitution Hall and then to a home to stay until it was safe to go back to London. We had two brothers to stay in our house, but they said it wasn’t what they wanted and went back to London. I think they were a bit posh! 

Next, we had Mrs O’Keefe and her son Dennis, they came from Stepney and fitted in nicely with us. 

After the first months of getting ready for what-ever happens, nothing did happen. The nights were darker with the black-out, otherwise things seemed to be as they were before. For the next few weeks, we were glued to the wireless every night. The nine O’clock news was now about our war, rather than the one far away. We heard that Kingy Edward’s dad, who is in the Royal Navy was some-where in the Pacific, and luckily, far away from the war. Posters were everywhere, telling us about how to protect ourselves, in case of an air-raid, and saying ‘Careless talk costs lives’ and such as that.

Young men joined up, some even saying they were older than they really were just to get in the services. My sister Chrissy joined The Land Army, and my brother Bernard tried to join the Army by putting his age up. They found out he was not old enough; he was only sixteen! My sister Iris left her job as a housekeeper to family in Weybridge to work in a factory.

The factory was in a Bedford lorry garage opposite Drill Hall Road. They made extra fuel tanks for Super Marine Spitfires. Because the tanks were jettisoned when the fuel had been used, the tanks were made of reinforced paper instead of aluminium. This was so that the Germans couldn’t collect and use the valuable metal. Iris and her friends Florrie Pendry who lived down Church Path, and Kiggy Smiths sister Betty who lived in Frithwald Road, were all on piece work and were earning good money. 

They would meet in our house in the evening. Me and Donald would be sent down the Carpenters Arms to buy some Watney’s brown ale, some Smiths crisps, a packet of Woodbines and some peanut toffee rings for us. It was nice to see everybody laughing and having a good time even though there is a war on. That was how everyone will get by I suppose.

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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