Watford in WW II
We came to Watford at the beginning of the war because my father had been moved to an office in London. Blitz 1940/41: put to bed under the stairs until the air raid shelter was built in the garden. Concrete with bunk beds, a pick & shovel to dig ourselves out if necessary, 2 buckets. Put to bed there each night during that winter. After the war it was useful to keep the milk in as we did not have a fridge – only a meat safe in a very cold north east corner larder, off a scullery with a quarry tile floor that gave my mother chilblains.
Going to school with my gas mask: Oxhey school at first until it went 1/2 day as part was taken over for a shelter. Then those of us on the Oxhey side of the railway line were sent to Oxhey Hall where a room was requisitioned for a class. Later on to the junior part of the grammar school.
Air raid practice in the cellars. 1st year of the 11 plus – ok for those that passed. Lying in bed hearing V1s coming over. They never managed to take out Bushey arches but St Matthews and St Marys lost windows and roads on Oxhey Hall were hit.
A map of Europe out of a newspaper pinned on the kitchen wall with allied flags stuck on it – moved as the troops advanced.
Dont remember news of D Day but do of Arnham and have seen the war graves since. Rationing seemed to go on for ever – bread after the war and I had to take my ration book to college in the 50s.
Strange to see the road pattern now, we used to get the bus near Oxhey Park and it took us straight up the High Street to a stop opposite the library (very different then, lots of dark mahogany and silence notices but at least there were plenty of books, unlike now).