• Townsend Road air raid shelter

    courtesy of Neil DeMarco

    In the early months of the war, the government issued two million Anderson shelters to homes in cities likely to be bombed. They were issued free to those earning less than £250 a year (the average wage then was about £300. £300 was the equivalent in purchasing power today of about £25,000. Anderson shelters, named […]

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  • A Chesham Man at War – the Story of WJ Dell

    WJ Dell

    This is the account of the war of WJ Dell, a Pednor resident, aged 14, when war broke out. I was 14 when war broke out in 1939 and weighed just 6st and was 5ft tall – in common with others who had just left school. I worked for a local baker, the lowest form […]

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  • Memories of Chesham in the 1930s and 1940s

    John Reeve

    My happiest days that I remember were from 1936 to 1939. I lived at 8 Market Square, where my father had a furniture and general store, later a men’s outfitters. His father John had come to Chesham from London around 1890 and started a business at 44 Church Street. My bedroom was on the top […]

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  • Kath Dolling (nee Smith) and evacuation

    biography of Kath Dolling

    THE wail of air-raid sirens over Penge, South-East London on Sunday 3rd September 1939 dramatically changed the life of eight-year-old Kathie Smith. She had lived as a shy, only child, with her partially-sighted Mum and elderly Dad, a retired merchant seaman and widower. Kath was born when her mother was 45 and Dad 66! The […]

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  • My War 1944

    Maurice Sabatini

    The following extract is from a letter written to Home on the Normandy Beach Heads, by myself M A Sabatini, Royal Navy Leading Ship’s Mechanic, which was never sent. It lay in my rucksack until I was demobbed in 1946, and was only looked at occasionally, until the 50th anniversary of the landings. There is […]

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  • Memories of a wartime childhood

    William (Bill) Howard

    I was born before the Second World War, in July 1939. I don’t remember very much until I was about 3. From then on I was aware that the sound of the air raid sirens meant trouble. Whenever German bombers were approaching, the sirens started with a loud, eerie WoooOOOOooooOOOOooooOOOOoooo noise. That meant we had […]

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