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Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on Arnhem and a hugh bunch of grapes

John Crofts

Being a mere two years old at the time of the Coventry Blitz I can only recount what my mother later told me. Not having a shelter at our home in Coventry's suburbs I was taken to the cellars of the Electricity Board works in Sandy Lane most nights, because my Dad, as a Mains engineer, was on emergency duty trying to repair or make safe the damage to the system.
Mother also worked there repairing cookers.

Me? shunted off to a day nursery in Poole Road for the duration of the war. The Electricity works, being a prime target for the bombers, was hardly the most imaginative of safe havens! Apparently during one raid, a parachute mine landed in the yard, skidded across the concrete and became firmly wedged in the doorway leading to the shelter. Nothing else to do but wipe the dust off the thing and try and read the writing on it.! Obviously it was a dud because you would not be reading this now.

I was then hastily evacuated to Berkswell to "family". Possibly either WELLS or COOPER.

My father was eventually called up and I remember vividly visiting him at a camp in Virginia Water, Surrey, before he set off by glider to the Arnhem operation. The memory is of a huge doorstep of a jam sandwich which I demolished to the last crumb. Then his return weeks later with his personal "Spoils of War". a machine gun, pistol, sword and loads of ammo which became my toys at grans until she ordered them to be thrown into the 'cut' (canal). Best of all was a huge bunch of black grapes looted from a Dutch greenhouse.

Written by John Crofts