Nigel Hepper

Photo:Nigel Hepper in 1941 wearing his school uniform.

Nigel Hepper in 1941 wearing his school uniform.

Nigel Hepper

Photo:Nigel's father's office bombed in 1941. To read more about the incident please press the link to the transcript on the bottom of the page.

Nigel's father's office bombed in 1941. To read more about the incident please press the link to the transcript on the bottom of the page.

Nigel Hepper

Leaving Leeds

Nigel Hepper talks about leaving Leeds to stay at the family's holiday home on the coast of Cumberland.

'A very formative time in my life'

Nigel Hepper talks about the changes brought on by the war.

'The Telephoney War'

Nigel Hepper recalls how everything seemed to happen on the telephone.

Recollections of growing up in wartime Leeds.

'The Telephoney War'

Nigel was ten years old at the outbreak of war and living with his family in Leeds, where his father was the chief constable. Nigel recalls how his father’s important position influenced his impression of the early part of the war:

‘My father...was very much in demand so he was always being telephoned. And people called it the Phoney War, nothing seemed to happen. But I used to call it the Telephoney War because everything seemed to happen on the telephone.’

Evacuation

To escape the expected bombing of Leeds, Nigel and his family evacuated to the family’s holiday home on the coast of Cumberland in late October 1939. But the family did not fully escape the air raids:

‘One night we had a terrific attack, we thought it was Barrow-in-Furness which was a ship building yard but in fact it was the Blitz on Liverpool, Bootle, the other Bootle and we could see all these shells bursting the sky and the huge explosions, and you know this was 70 miles away and we could feel the tremor, feel the tremor in our feet as all this happened.’

The fear of gas

But it was not only heavy aerial bombardment that was feared at the beginning of the war. Gas was also a great concern:

‘I think one of the biding memories is of the importance of gas, a poison gas attack, and we were always fearful of that. We had no idea what was going to happen. My father had experienced chlorine gas and others in the Great War and so he was well aware of the dangers, but we had to carry the gasmasks and so on.’

The Officers Training Corps

In 1942 Nigel and his family returned to Leeds for Nigel to continue his education at Leeds Grammar School. At this time Nigel joined the officers training corps, OTC. Nigel believes this experience stood him in good stead once time came for his National Service in 1947: ‘When I joined up I was able to tell them that I had had this experience and then was sent into Officers’ Training School and became a fighter controller in the radar blocks which was an interesting experience.’  

Downloads

Interview with Nigel Hepper
Interview with Nigel Hepper (137k)
To read the full transcript of Nigel's interview please press the above link.

Leaving Leeds
Leaving Leeds (62k)
Transcript of audio clip with Nigel Hepper.

'A very formative time in my life'
'A very formative time in my life' (67k)
Transcript of audio clip with Nigel Hepper.

'The Telephoney War'
'The Telephoney War' (82k)
Transcript of audio clip with Nigel Hepper.

Nigel Hepper - Diary
Nigel Hepper - Diary (132k)
Diary extracts from a trip to London in 1945.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 23/02/2012.

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