Some Memories of Markyate during the 2nd World War.

Geoffrey L. Spary

From War & the Three Villages Produced by the Flamstead & Kensworth History Groups and the Markyate Local History Group, 1995

The troubled years of 1937-38 when Hitler’s idea of world domination was appearing, we as a nation started to make preparations for our own safety.

There was the formation of the A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions). Mr Tom Skeggs was the Chief Warden, this was formed I believe in 1938.

I was a messenger boy along with Gordon Sweetland and others. Gas masks were on issue, horrific things, you had a job to breathe and if you were doing anything strenuous the eyepiece would steam up so you couldn’t see where you were going.

Now in Home Guard

I always remember the firs bomb I ever heard come down, Sgt. Field, Mac and myself were on a road block at the top of Pickford Road, near Bonds Row. A plane was overhead; there was a long swishing noise, then Frank and Mac laying with their stomachs off the ground to avoid internal damage. Me! Standing up. When they got up, I laid down.

Once a fortnight we used to go to Wheathampstead for unarmed combat training and very useful it was too. An instructor and his six year old son; don’t laugh at the six year old, he could throw any man twice as big as himself, no problem, he was good. After being thrown about and learning a lot we used to adjourn to the Cherry Tree pub to recover.

Hertfordshire Local Studies, WW2 Yellow Folder 2

This page was added on 02/04/2020.

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  • Russell Smith, My granddad worked at Watling street filling station on the A5 as a lad of about 14 about 1910. His name was Charles Severn.

    By Suzannah Caroline White (15/06/2021)
  • My Dad, Joe Smith was in Markyate Home Guard during the war. I have a photo of the ‘platoon’. I can send a copy if someone contacts me. I recognise the surnames of Skeggs and Spary from some of my father’s tales.
    In fact, I believe somewhere along the line I am related to the Skeggs family. My grandfather, Russell Perry ran a grocers shop in the village and started the Filling station by the M1 roundabout.

    By Russell Smith (29/05/2020)