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John Simkin

Second World War Oral History Project

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Andy - this sounds a good idea.

I have suggested to the History department at my school that they encourage the student to interview grandparents and produce a section on the War in East Grinstead.


Keep listening!

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Morrison shelters

I was born in 1939, and in 1944 i was living in Tooting. My father was serving with HMS Vernon at a secret shore establishment near Havant, but I stayed in London with my mother. i had attended a catholic convent nursery school but it closed down when the bombing became intense. Eventually we had "doodlebugs" coming over every ten minutes so I lived for weeks in a Morrison shelter in our front room. I had to emege to go to the toilet, but otherwise I was told to stay in the cage for safety.

My father came home on leave to find his small daughter living in a cage, so he took me back to his digs in Warblington, where I remained until the end of the war.

When I returned to Tooting I remember the street party to celebrate. We had a huge bonfire in the middle of the rosd, and an effigy of Hitler was slung over the telegraph lines and then lowered onto the fire, like a modern Guy Fawkes.

When I tell people that I once lived in a cage they look at me in disbelief, but perhaps I was not the only small child in this situation, having been too young to be evacuated at the start of the war.

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Hello Ms. Thomas,

Thank you for sharing with us your memories and experiences as a child during the war. It is very difficult for us to even "get our head around" such horror. It is the courage of people like you who survived to speak of it that serves as a reminder to us that we must be ever vigilant else we be lulled into a false sense of security. It is much easier to live in a state of denial rather than accept the fact that humans are quite capable of committing atrocities on a scale that is nearly unfathomable. Your testimony also serves to remind us of the resiliency of the human spirit and that hope can endure even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Welcome to the Forum!

Edited by Greg Burnham

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