These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

REMEMBERING

Printed in the Southern Central League programme on Saturday 26th
November 2011 v Ashford Town (Middlesex). We won 4-3 in front of 271
people and go back to top of the league.

While we all fell quiet for the minutes silence at Slough’s last home
game, Remembrance Sunday got me thinking about how lucky I am to be
here. Without ever being on a battlefield it’s impossible to imagine
what war is like but it’s a bit easier to imagine how frightening it
would be to have your home continually bombed; friends, families and
neighbours killed. My Nan, Daisy Hunt, was a teenager from the East
End of London during the Second World War and she had three very lucky
escapes. Living in EC1 wasn’t the safest place to be as it was
targeted by sustained German bombing raids. So bad at times my Nan
said it seemed like hell itself as the East End went up in flames, and
each day felt like you were on borrowed time.

One of the more pleasant sheltering from the bombs was in my Aunt Bets
Pub, The Scottish Stores in Caledonian Road, Kings Cross. Sheltering
from the bombs in the cellar they managed to while away the time by
drinking the stock. The pub was rough and ready, with Aunt Bet handy
with a wooden bat to keep order. It’s now a strip-club!

Nan’s family house was so bomb damaged they had to move out of the
City Road and into Hackney.  Every day was a lucky escape, but one
time Nan was at her Dad’s allotment with her future husband Ernest.
They heard a Doodlebug overhead and quickly ran to a shelter. They
just managed to shut the door and were blown down the stairs but
unhurt. The nearby shelter was hit and the occupants not so lucky.
Doodlebugs were self-propelled pilotless aircraft, which when they
reached their maximum range would crash and explode. The bit that
everyone knew about the doodlebugs was their sound. When that sound
changed, you knew the bomb was going to drop and you darted for cover.

Another time, Nan’s friend popped round and asked if she wanted to go
to the library. Daisy said she couldn’t as she was preparing food for
dinner. The next minute the windows in the house were shattered as the
library they were planning to visit was hit by a rocket. One of her
friends was killed; identified by the bottom of her jaw, the only part
of her ever found.

The third lucky escape came when she was working in a factory when
another doddle-bug hit. She managed to get into the shelter with
workmates, but her clothes were ripped and her legs cut and they had
to be dug out of the rubble. She walked dazed down the street where
her grateful mum took her home, but she should have reported to the
medical staff that arrived on site with an ambulance or to the ARP.
The Air Raid Patrol wardens were the ones that went round the streets
during black-outs telling people to turn out their lights so the
bombers couldn’t target them. They also reported bomb damage and re-
united families. In the morning after the attack there was a knock at
their door from the ARP saying they had searched all night for my Nan
but she couldn’t be found. That was because she was asleep in bed
upstairs!

Lucky might not be the right word when describing the bombing of
London. But I sometimes wonder, what if one of the bombs had killed my
Nan. My mum wouldn’t have been born, I wouldn’t have been born and
neither would my son. My brother and his five boys would never have
ever existed. Neither would Daisy’s two sons (my uncles) and their two
children.

I think if we should remember anything during Remembrance Sunday is
just how precious life is, and that politicians and people should do
everything they can to make sure that war is the last ever resort.
Maybe if the politicians who seem so ready to go to war had to send
their children to fight, they might be a little less gung-ho.

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