Tag Archives: The Blitz

What did you do in the war? Part 4

Peter Batten concludes his memories of a terrifying time…

In September 1944 I started my years at St Olave’s. At that time the school was divided. Two thirds of the boys were evacuated to Torquay, but in 1943 part of the school premises was re-opened for those boys whose parents wanted them to remain in London. The rest of the premises were used as a temporary fire station! You may be interested to know that I am still in touch with 2 of the boys who joined the school on the same day that I did; they live nearby in Haywards Heath. Continue reading What did you do in the war? Part 4

What did you do in the war? Part 2

Peter Batten continues his memories of a terrifying time…

First I need to retrace my steps a little. As soon as war was declared in September 1940 children were evacuated from London. But not every child. Some parents, including mine, decided that their children would not be evacuated. Probably their thinking was, “If we are going to die we will all die together”. This may surprise you, but I am sure it is true.

In 1939 I had begun piano lessons. My teacher, who had an eye for opportunities, opened a small school in his house for children remaining in London. This was a happy little unit of about 8 boys, which I attended until the Blitz began and we departed for Essex. Continue reading What did you do in the war? Part 2

What did you do in the War?

Peter Batten remembers a terrifying time…

Recently a member of my family said to me, “You are always telling little anecdotes about things that happened in WW2, why don’t you put them all together for us?” So here is my response. I hope you find it interesting.

Woman: “Is it all right now, Henry?” Man: “Yes, not even scratched.”
Woman: “Is it all right now, Henry?”
Man: “Yes, not even scratched.”

Two days stand out among my memories of WW2. The first is the 3rd September 1939. I was 6 years old. I knew that my parents were anxious about a possible war with Germany, but I really did not understand what that might involve. Even though an ‘Anderson’ shelter with great metal sheets had been delivered to our house and I had watched my father dig a hole for it in our small garden, piling the earth on top, I did not believe it would ever be needed. Then on that fatal Sunday I was in the kitchen while my parents listened to Chamberlain on the radio telling them that war had been declared. Continue reading What did you do in the War?