Maurice Booker

'A prime souvenir'

Maureen Booker tells of a time he acquired a prime souvenir.

'A new secret weapon'

Maureen Booker talks about taking shelter and a 'new secret weapon'.

The stigma of TB

Maurice Booker talks about how the stigma of TB influenced his choice of joining the Army.

Recollections of living in the presence of tuberculosis in wartime Orpington.

Tuberculosis in wartime

At the outbreak of war Maurice was seven years old and living with his family in Orpington. Maurice’s father had died of tuberculosis in 1938. His brother and sister later also died from tuberculosis. The effects of the war added additional strain on the family:

‘When my sister was dying and the first raids come, you know, they’d built us a shelter by this time and...I was in the shelter with my two brothers and she [mother] used to stay in the bedroom with my sister, you know. I was frightened obviously, you know, and used to cry for her but I had to stay in the shelter with my brothers.’

Later the family received a Morrison shelter but there was simply not enough room in the shelter. One of Maurice’s elder brothers had at this time also become ill and was required to sleep in the shelter. Along with another brother Maurice had to make use of the public shelter.  

‘We used to take our mattress over our shoulder and go down into the shelter, into the main public shelters and that. There was only sackings, the actual bunks that were there and that. And we used to go down and half past eight in the morning we come back and that, you know, during the raid.’

'A new secret weapon'

Maurice recalls how he was in the public shelter the first time he experienced the V1 rocket:

‘I was in there the night...the doodlebugs came. That was the first of V1s, you know, and everybody thought that we were shooting down German aircraft because you would hear the noise and that and then it cut out, you know...I knew it wasn’t the same noise and because the Dorniers used to come over. They had a droning on them...you’d always know...[B]ut this one you’d hear the engine stop...then the explosion. Every time they heard it the people in the shelters were cheering, you know. But in the morning...it was in the papers. That this was a new secret weapon.’

Despite a family history of tuberculosis, Maurice served in Egypt in the early 1950s as part of his National Service.

Downloads

'A prime souvenir'
'A prime souvenir' (73k)
Transcript of audio clip with Maurice Booker.

'A new secret weapon'
'A new secret weapon' (73k)
Transcript of audio clip with Maurice Booker.

The stigma of TB
The stigma of TB (89k)
Transcript of audio clip with Maurice Booker.

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

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