River Wissey Lovell Fuller


May 2020

Don’t let those sirens sound again – or even the all-clear I’m taken back to childhood, full of trembling and fear. When I was only six years old and my bother only three We had our gas masks fitted, one for him and one for me.

We went to live in Matfield, near Tunbridge Wells we stayed. It seemed a grand and spacious house; they even had a maid. No bombs were falling anywhere –w e were taken back to home But soon the planes were coming – we recognised the drone.

We spent our nights with others, in tunnels underground. What were these places built for – no answer yet we’ve found. So many people slept here from Erith and Slades Green. Each fam’ly had its area, to sit or sleep and dream.

At daylight we would surface and survey the world around. I remember it was winter, with the snow all on the ground. Was Lincoln Road still standing? Was number thirty two still there? Or had life changed for ever – we were children full of fear.

At night the bombs kept coming – we went to town one day When the siren went in daylight – we all rushed to hide away The basement of a shop became our refuge for an hour. This was a really fearsome raid – we saw the grown-ups cower

Right along the river Thames – imagine burning margarine – The bombs had hit the factory – I can’t forget the scene. Our mother was a “bag of nerves”, I’m told in later life. My father worked down Crossness way and had to leave his wife.

We then slept in the garden – our Anderson was fine But the insects made me fearful and we could hear the sirens whine A house nearby was hit by bombs, with shrapnel on our eaves Our parents felt this was enough and decided we must leave

Soon we moved to Cambridgeshire where so few bombs had landed! I went to school and learnt to read and was allowed to be left handed. I’m growing old – but even now I still re-live that fear Don’t let those sirens sound again – I cannot bear to hear!

Ruth Marsters

No part of these verses may be reproduced in any form with written permission of the author rmm@marstersvoice.co.uk

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.