A boy's wartime memories

SIR - I was a signalman at Bideford Station during the 50s. It was a delightful station to work at and I was very sad when it and the line closed. I used to cycle from Barnstaple every day to cover the shifts. But before all that, this happened: On Septe

SIR - I was a signalman at Bideford Station during the 50s. It was a delightful station to work at and I was very sad when it and the line closed. I used to cycle from Barnstaple every day to cover the shifts. But before all that, this happened: On September 24, 1940, my family, including me, lost our house in South London through a parachute mine. We took as much of our possessions as possible and made our way to Appledore where we had relatives. We arrived at Bideford Station, walked across the lovely bridge and got the Appledore bus.

On passing the Kingsley Statue, I saw this building smouldering. I can tell you, I was terrified. We and thousands of others had endured 58 days of continuous air raid warnings etc. Anyway, as I sat there on the bus clearly frightened, a lady leaned across, having seen my scared looks.

And she said in that lovely accent: "Yee alright my 'andsome?"

I said: "Did the Germans do that?


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She said: "No, my lover, us 'ad a bit of a fire. Twas the old glove factory. You'll be alright." I have loved Bideford ever since!

Tony Chalk. Fremington.

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