There was an air raid warning on the day war broke out. Our neighbour, Mr White was terribly afraid that we would all be gassed by the Germans. He was a deeply religious man and was always saying that Armageddon was about to be visited upon us.
The siren was a false alarm, but Mr White rushed around trying to block up his chimneys in case the gas should come in that way. He panicked my mother into trying to cram a growing 18 month old child (me) into a gas tight baby’s box (that had probably been issued during the 1938 Munich crisis of the previous year) and was now far to small for me! My mother still remembers me screaming in protest.
Before we received an air raid shelter we would hide in the ‘gas cupboard’, or between the piano and the wall of the front room; mother would always lie on top of me to protect me. I hated this I always tried to push her off me.
When we were at school and there was an air raid on lessons would continue in the school air raid shelters between Hanworth Road Junior School and Cardinal Infants School.
We could not do a lot there, but the teachers would get us to recite things we’d been learning, chant multiplication tables etc. We sang ‘ten green bottles’ a lot, to keep our spirits up!
My father and his friend were with the Home Guard on the airfield at Hanworth Park, during a raid. The both heard a bomb falling and they threw themselves onto the ground, in the gutter of the roadway. After the explosion they were picking themselves up and getting back on their feet when a second bomb came down and the blast knocked both of them flat again.
August/September 1940 (Battle of Britain)
My mother remembers walking over the railway bridge, beside the station on Hounslow Road. She was on her way to the shops with me in a push-chair. Then the sirens went-off and she found herself caught in the open in a daylight air raid.
She remembers seeing German planes, with crosses on the underside of their wings, quite low and the German planes were fired upon by machine guns that were mounted on the roof of the 50 Shilling Tailors’ shop (Burtons?) at the northern end of Feltham High Street.
She ran down into the town from the top of the bridge, she was too far from Durham Road (off Harlington Road) to go home for shelter.
As she ran down the High Street, looking for a public shelter, a man from Goodworth’s shop (possibly the proprietor) opened his door and bundled her into the shelter of the shop doorway. He then helped her across the road, with the push-chair, to the shelters that stood on the Green.
Bedfont Recreation Ground off Hatton Road had 4 heavy Anti-Aircraft Guns set on it. These are reputed to have shot down a German bomber that crashed in Bushy Park. The General Aircraft Factory had twin Lewis machine guns at the front of the hangar, pointing out over the airfield to shoot at German parachutists, in case they should land on this great open space. There were also Oerlikon AA canons at the Airfield Gate, near the Airman Public House.
My father was on Home Guard/ARP duty the night the V1 fell upon the RASC Depot; he was close enough for the blast of the exploding flying bomb to bowl him over and blow him off his feet.
The Home Guard used to practise throwing grenades on Hounslow Heath.