Roy Wilson

Recollections of life on the Home Front.

'Come on get down to the air raid shelter'

‘My mum was petrified. She used to keep saying to us ‘Come on, come on! Come on get down to the air raid shelter’, but we wouldn’t go. We thought we were gonna die.'

As a seven year old boy at the outbreak of war, Roy was living with his parents in Bethnal Green. At the beginning of the war, he was evacuated to stay with his aunt. As little happened during the first year of the war, Roy was soon sent back home. Not long after his return to Bethnal Green the Blitz began and Roy’s home was soon damaged in an air raid. Roy recalls how he and his brother refused to use the shelter:

‘My mum was petrified. She used to keep saying to us ‘Come on, come on! Come on get down to the air raid shelter’, but we wouldn’t go. We thought we were gonna die but at least we were in bed, and my mum used to stand out in the passage ‘cos when you woke up next morning, it was mates or friends that, that you knew bombed out or killed.’  

'Never put behind a screen'

Photo:Roy Wilson pictured in the early 1950s while serving in the 80th Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Roy Wilson pictured in the early 1950s while serving in the 80th Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Roy Wilson

To Roy as a child, the war was always present:

‘It was never put behind a screen...you was with it all the time...they might be trying to get a body out a house, things like that. It was there all the time, you know, what can you say…I stood there when I was [a] kid come down after air raid which was, what you call Brick Lane, which was all the clothing factories then...all the way down there, that was all alight.’

In 1950 Roy began his National Service and later served in the Middle East.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 22/02/2012.

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