Woolwich & Districts
as a Child in WW2
grew up mostly in Plumstead. I was a boarder at the Notre Dame
Convent in Eglinton Road. I was born in 1938 so was very young
when the War started.
remember sitting in our dormitory at the convent listening to
the bombs falling but not knowing what the noises were. I asked
the Sister in charge of us what was happening and she said,
"Be quiet, and say your rosary. It is the devil and all
his works." Consequently I had a very strange view of the
Devil and the noise he made whilst going about his business
of being evil.
often had to go down into an air raid shelter, which was under
the playground. There, if it was in the daytime, we would have
makeshift lessons, all sitting on the ground with a blanket.
father decided to take me away from the Convent because he felt
that I was being brainwashed too much by the sisters. I went
back home with mum at Plumstead Common. My brother was born
in 1943 and I can remember us having to go down into the shelter
at the bottom of the garden. It always puzzled me why, very
often, I would wake in the night, standing in the living room
with mum or dad putting my coat on over my pyjamas. It wasn't
till much later I realised I had been lifted from my bed and
carried downstairs when the air raid warning went off.
would go out into the garden with dark skies overhead riven
with searchlight beams and already the sound of bombs dropping,
or later, the sound of the rockets and buzz bombs in the skies.
I was very afraid of this and once I panicked and pushed my
dad into the shelter
and he cut his forehead on the corrugated metal round the doorway.
remember one time when mum, my baby brother, and me spent about
a week in the shelter. It seemed there was back-to-back air
raids day and night. Mum used to rush out buy food, or get more
water, or simply to sweep up the broken glass, left as a result
of the blasts from the bombing nearby. We were near the Docks
and the Royal Arsenal so were bound to get the overspill.
By Diane Francesca Smith (nee Jones)
'WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories
contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC.
The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar'