World War Two in Smallford, by Geoffrey Smith
I was born at Hatfield in Hertfordshire on 23 January 1938, the second son of Victor Sidney and Adelaide Rosamund (Rose) Smith. I have a brother, Alan, who is 18 months older than me, and a sister, Valerie, who is two years younger.
My father had served in the Royal Air Force for many years, serving in England and at various stations on the Indian sub-continent and in the Middle-east. He had been one of the first ever batch of RAF apprentices and qualified as an air frame fitter and designer. On leaving the air force he went to work for the De Havilland Aircraft Company and, at the time I was born, he was an experimental airframe design engineer working at the De Havilland Aircraft Company in Hatfield.
When World War Two broke out in September 1939, he was not called up, being in a reserved occupation. Throughout the war he worked on experimental design for the airframes of new aircraft. In the later years of the war he worked on the design of some of the first jet aircraft, including the Vampire, the ill-fated DH 108, known as the Flying Wing, and the DH110, later known as the Sea Vixen.
Our family moved to the tiny village of Smallford, near Hatfield, in 1940, shortly after my sister Valerie was born. Our address for the next 14 years was to be a small semi-detached house called “Clifton” in Station Road.
Although the village was very small it was on the railway line between St. Albans and Hatfield and had its own station, complete with a Station Master, and a couple of part time porters/ticket collectors. My Dad used to travel either on this train to work or ride in on his bicycle.
I was too young to know much about the early years of the war, but there are some things which I remember very well about the 1943 – 45 period.