Chertsey Tales Part Thirty.
Another wartime Christmas is upon us. What a year 1940 has been. The phoney war carried on until this summer. There were other terrible things happening though. Our best ships and even civilian liners were being sunk by the U-boats with so many lives being lost.
A man is staying with us for a few days, he is a friend of my sister Iris. We are all in the kitchen huddled around the fire and he is telling us about things that are not mentioned on the wireless. He said the bombs like the one we had were dropped by reconnaissance planes to test our defences and the Vickers raid was successful because the Germans then knew there were no barrage balloons over the factory.
Who would have thought our little old town would be bombed so heavily. I never knew about the other two bombs that fell here on the same night as ‘ours’. I was evacuated to my Grannies the next day and for several weeks, so was only told about them when I came back. One bomb fell in Vincent Road about 100 yards away from us. The other was very dramatic, my friend Alex Lees told me all about it. The bomb landed on a haystack in a field next to his home in Fordwater Road. The blast lifted the roof of his bungalow up, and it came down in a slightly different position.
In the field opposite he saw his father and other neighbours running around chasing terrified horses that had their tails and manes in flames. The haystack had been blown apart and the burning hay fell on the poor horses. I think they were all saved though.
June Moore, who lived opposite Goldilocks, has written the words of some Carols on stiff card. She now wants us to go Carol singing with her…Girls are so bossy. She says we will sing up Station Road where some houses are private, and they can afford to pay us. There are six of us. We have to sing while its light because we can’t use a torch, luckily the clocks being changed makes it still light at 5 pm. She says, as soon as we get to sixpence we’ll stop and buy some chips at Mrs Hughes, because she saw the ‘Frying Tonight’ notice in the window, meaning they had some fish to sell.
Singing is not a thing I am very good at; I soon find out that I’m not alone in this. Goldilocks thinks, just because his father is Welsh, that he is also a fine singer…he can’t sing for toffee! And as for June, well it was embarrassing she thought she could get up to the high notes just because she was a girl. But we soon had our sixpence…I think the money was given to make us go away.
Mrs Hughes gave us more chips than a sixpence could buy and some crackling as well, she is such a kind lady. We went to the waiting room in Chertsey station where they have a nice coal fire, and then to eat the supper that we sang for. It’s a bit smoky in there, but it turned out to be a very good night, although I think I will skip the next one unless we can lose June Moore and her descants or whatever she called those terrible high notes, and just be a boy group…I think that will be hard to do, she has already told Wadie when we are singing again…Girls!