Alan Stanley

  1937 -
  City of Birth:
Romford. Essex. Great Britain.

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I am adding this additional chapter to my introduction, because after I initially wrote the introduction, it was very difficult to come back to it and try to make sense of all that I have experienced through the various stages of my life and the trials that I have endured or overcome.  I wish ...


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Alan's Story > Categories > War. Bombers. Shelters. Death.

"Alan's War. A Serial. Part 7." 


Date Range: 01/01/1940 To 05/08/1945   Comments: 0   Views: 9,946
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It must have been some bomb. Even the windows in the bungalows on the other side of our road had lost their windows. Chris and I climbed up to the top of the step ladder that leaned against the wall behind the back door and peered over the back gardens.
There was still smoke or steam and where houses had been before there was now a gap. Nothing. I was too young to be shocked I suppose, but was surprised that my parents were so matter of fact. My mother was getting on with things and  looking back I suppose that we were all in the same boat and from my perch on the top step all I could see down the road was the neighbours sweeping up glass and roofing tiles, although Mr Clark at 101 seemed to be walking up and down the garden in a daze. I was going to tell mum but she saw me and shook her head.
You could see the back of the houses at the end of the street in the next turning and there was a lot of damage to the houses still standing in Stanley Avenue. Everything was in a sorry state and as we fought to get up the steps we could see bits of wall falling. The houses damaged down our road opposite the crater were smoking rubble and mum had said that it was lucky that they were empty.
 Dad and then mum had gone over as soon as the 'All Clear' sounded to join people who were already trying to help, but the Emergency Services had started to arrive and Policemen had told everybody to clear off and go back to their homes, if they had one to go to. Mum said that one poor man was sitting in the rubble crying his eyes out as he had come home from work to find that it was gone. No use telling him that he was lucky that he had been at work.
Dad said that the crater was the biggest hole he had ever seen, and that if we dared to go outside our garden without him or mum we would be in for a tanning. There was a chance of unexploded bombs, and anyway there was schrapnel, which we collected to show at school, but which was dangerous,and the crater was filling up with water.

           An Anderson Shelter, nearly buried. 

We thought that dad had gone to work but he had parked the car in the road, and came in to ask mum if he should go.
"You two can help your mother with the cleaning up, can't you?. I am going to go into work and see if I can get some days off to get this mess cleared up.
He washed the soap of off his face from shaving at the kitchen sink, and took the mug of tea off the windowsill and drank it down. We stood at the front door with mum and waved him up the hill. Down the road was blocked. She waved at the Haigh's up a few houses and nodded yes to an 'are you alright?' question. 
Mother got us washed while she made breakfast. A plate of Scotts Porridge Oats with a teaspoon of Lyle's Golden Syrup. You put the spoon with the syrup in the center of the plate and watched it melt and spread across the top of the porridge. Then you put the milk on top.  Delicious.
We spent most of the day helping mum until dad came home. He said that he had been walking around looking at the damage, and that he and mum had to talk and make some decisions. While at work he had telephoned friends of theirs who had once lived at the top of our road, but who had moved to the country just after the war had started.
John and Edna Shead and their daughters Gwen and Joyce had been friends of our family since before I was born. Uncle John was my Godfather and they were both Godparents to Christopher Trevor  Stanley, my brother. Uncle worked for the London and North Eastern Railway, known like all other lines around the world as L.N.E.R.
He had worked at Stratford Station for a long time but was then offered the job of Stationmaster at Goreham Junction, a marshaling depot near Colchester in Essex. He took the job and the family moved to a railway house near the town.
Dad said that only Edna was at home but when he told her what had happened she had said that she would speak to her husband when he got home from work and telephone back but finished with: "You know what my answer is already darling, but I better ask the old man just in case they are transferring us back to Romford!"
The phone rang again and I ran to get it in the hall, but mum was there before me. It was Aunt Edna. Mum and dad took turns to talk to them and they told them about the bomb and everything else.
They said, "Come. It would be a bit cramped, but to come." Just like that.

Dad wasn't going to go. Only mum, Christopher and me. Our elder brothers were away in the forces; Kieth in the Royal Air Force and Derek in the Army. Gwen and Joyce were in the WAAF and only came home home occasionally, so we could have their room. Chris and I in one bed and mum would have the other. If dad came up for a weekend, he would have to bring his own camp bed. Dad had his job at Plessey in Ilford where they were making bomb sights, and he had to look after the house, as it was only smashed not demolished, and see that it got repaired. If you were not there when the Council came to cover the roof or reglass the windows, then they might go elsewhere. They would leave a note on the front door, if you had one, saying that they would be back in a few days to see if the house was worth repairing, and if it was then they would do it. If you weren't there when they came back: hard cheese mate!


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