Because of today’s date I came to reflect on the same time way back in 1944, 72 years ago. In late April or early May of 1944 we moved from Seven Kings south to Cornwall. My sister’s husband had just completed commando training in the Highlands of Scotland and was transferred to the village of Padstow. The village was a restricted zone so getting us in was not easy. However, we were given the go ahead to move down, her husband had rented us rooms in a local fisherman’s cottage. The commando’s were training in driving landed craft onto the beach at high speed. This was much to the anger of the local fishermen who had to hang onto their boats rolling heavily in the wakes of the speeding landing crafts. For my sister and I, Padstow was a wonderfully quiet place after the nightly raids on London. The only problem we had was a lack of clothes. Because the village was restricted, we were only allowed one small suitcase between us. The majority of our worldly goods had been left at our flat in Seven Kings. The training which of course was top secret, was in preparation for D Day, the beaches at Padstow were similar to those at Normandy. Naturally we knew nothing about this until after the 6th June 1944. After the invasion there was not longer any reason for us to remain in the village Lily’s husband was gone.The military authorities move very slowly and we didn’t get permission to leave until approximately 15th June. Looking back on these events now I must believe this was favourable twist of fate or perhaps an act of God? When we arrived at our house in Seven Kings there was a huge crater where once we had lived. One of the first V1 flying bombs had made a direct hit on the house on 13th June. In total three homes were destroyed, ours plus the one on each side of us. The Anderson shelter where we had spent so many nights was nowhere to be seen. As devastating as it seemed at that moment of shock, we quickly realised how fortunate we had been. Had we been allowed to return home a few days earlier I would not be here to relate this story. We stood with only the clothes on our backs, we had lost everything but our lives. For that I shall ever be thankful.
Photo on the right a typical Anderson Shelter.
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