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March 27 , 2011

Sirens and Grey Balloons


The life of a small boy living in a London suburb which sustained heavy damage from enemy bombing where over a hundred of its citizens were killed and only ten percent of its buildings survived the war unscathed. He recalls the terror of lying in a cupboard under the stairs as the Luftwaffe bombed his suburb and later devastation caused by V1 flying bombs and long range V2 rockets. His account encompasses a short period of evacuation to the safety of a country village and the relief experienced by a war torn populace when news of Hitler’s death heralded the end of the Third Reich and the Second World War. The reminiscences also include details of his family’s friendship with German prisoners of war. The main thread which weaves the narrative together lays in the many humorous episodes which punctuated his early years, particularly whilst in the British Army which at the time appeared to have changed only marginally since the carnage of the First World War.

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