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The Air Raid Shelter

From an upstairs window, it looked as though rather large moles had been at work


Photograph of Two girls standing next to an Anderson Shelter

Two girls standing next to an Anderson Shelter

During the Second World War, nearly every garden had an air raid shelter in the street where I lived!

From an upstairs window looking out, it looked as though rather large moles had been at work.  There was a large mound in the middle of each garden – it was an “Anderson Shelter”.

Being a small child, memories are rather vague, but I remember being woken in the night.  Over our pyjamas, my sister and I were dressed in our “Siren Suits”, an all in one garment which zipped up the front, and then we were taken out to the back garden in complete darkness, and into the shelter.

The shelter was constructed with metal corrugated sheets covering a deep hole and then protected with sand bags and earth on top.  Inside there were bunks on which to sleep and the awful smell of damp earth, quite often there was water lying in the bottom of the shelter.

One night after a raid, we emerged to find the fields at the back were alight with small incendiary bombs; luckily none had fallen on the houses.  On another occasion, all the house windows were blown out by the explosion of a land mine.

Prior to the Anderson Shelter, Mother and I crawled into a cupboard under the stairs.  My baby sister was put into a special baby unit which sat on the shelf and was supposed to protect against a gas attack.  I am not sure which provided the better protection, the cupboard under the stairs or the shelter in the garden!!

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