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Banburyshire Family History

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Bill Burgoyne

Our family had moved house four days before war was declared. A week later an evacuation officer came to our door with three young children. My mother protested -but I have four young children of my own there must some mistake- and he left. The house was not connected to the electrical supply and we used oil lamps. During the bombing of Birmingham families came out to us pleading to use our farm buildings at night for shelter. Eventually there were twelve families sleeping at our farm coming out each night and returning each morning.

I was moved into a larger bedroom with my three sisters. And a Greek Cypriote couple with a young baby had my room for about six months.

Dad's small wooden office was occupied by Mr & Mrs Hobbs and their daughter Silvia they owned a fireplace business in Birmingham and remained friends with my parents for many years after the war.

Dad climbed on to the roof of the house watching the bombing of Coventry and we lived 14 miles from the centres of Coventry and Birmingham.

A bomb fell about five hundred yards from us by the Black Boy pub at Heronfield and left a huge crater. The German pilots had been trying to locate the locks on the Grand Union canal at Knowle. There was an Anti-Aircraft gun placement 150 yards from the pub behind the hedge of a field bordering the A41 (now A4141) main road from Warwick to Birmingham. One day a German fighter bomber flew very low along the line of the canal. None of the soldiers were with the gun, they were enjoying a pint in the pub -- they scrambled back to the gun very quickly but too late for a shot at the plane: the gun was moved elsewhere shortly afterwards. I don't think it was ever fired from that position.

Written by Bill Burgoyne