Bovingdon Memories – At War

Tom Bayliss

In common with the rest of the country Bovingdon played its full part in the war effort, men and women rushed to join the services.

In view of the fact that we were such a small village at this time, we were very proud that we were able to maintain full night time crews of both the fire service and air raid warden personnel.

Shortly after the onset of war, the L.D.V. was formed. They were rather a motley crew; some had uniforms, some did not; one or two had weapons, most did not. One Sunday morning, when they were on parade in New House Road, I heard what must have been the strangest command ever given “Attention! Those with arms, swing one arm – those with no arms swing both.” However, both they and the other services proved their worth when a high explosive bomb demolished the farm house in New House Road, with the family and evacuees there were 16 in the house at the time , although it was reduced to rubble, the only casualty was a boy with a broken arm. Two men working with the threshing machine and sleeping in an out building, slept through the noise and had to be woken up by the rescuers. I reckon that says a lot for the strength of the beer in those days.

More About Bovingdon

At the start of the war, I remember being on duty in the fire station and the air raid wardens occupied the present kitchen of the hall. Our Vicar – a warden – arrived in his little Austin 7 car, which we jacked at the rear with some bricks for a game, and watched him start his car it shook violently and shot backwards off the bricks and hit the air raid shelter behind it with a thump. Judging from the language issuing from the driving seat any stranger would have taken a lot of convincing it was a Vicar at the wheel.

Hertfordshire Local Studies Library, WW2 Yellow Folder 1

This page was added on 02/04/2020.

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