VE Day 75: Childhood memories of rockets, air raids and ‘evacuation’ in Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 14:30 08 May 2020
Retired policeman, Ronald Lloyd, 82, from Harold Wood, was a baby when war was declared in 1939. Here he remembers with fondness ‘evacuation’ to his grandparents and Bruno, his constant companion.
During the Second World War, I lived with my parents Philemon and Ethel Lloyd in Rogers Road, Dagenham.
I was about 18 months old when war was declared on September 3, 1939.
Because my father was called up to the army (Pioneer Corps) in 1940 and my mother was a dress maker, I was “evacuated” to my grandparents James and Ethel Grant in Reede Road, Dagenham.
I fondly remember my stay with them. My grandfather, a bus driver, had served with the Royal Horse Artillery in the First World War. My uncle Reg was called up to the RAF.
My grandparents had an Airedale dog, Bruno, who was my constant companion.
The long back garden led down almost to the railway line near Dagenham East station.
About half way down, was a hardly used air raid shelter.
When an air raid warning siren sounded, Bruno guided me underneath our shelter, a large wooden table.
We soon got to know the sound of enemy planes and the drone of the V1 “Doodle Bug”, recognising the terrible cut out it made seconds from exploding.
Later it was the V2 rocket.
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When shopping with my grandmother, Bruno would guard me. He only disappeared when he nipped into the Heathway butcher’s shop and ran out with stolen meat or sausages!
Although I now believe the butcher had saved him some scraps.
I went to Hunters Hall Road School, sometimes walking through the nearby park.
Some houses had been bombed on my route. The army had to defuse unexploded bombs in the park.
On VE Day, 1945, I had my photograph taken in Trafalgar Square for my father serving in Germany.
I remember seeing V1 and V2 rockets displayed and a captured U Boat submarine which I clambered aboard with my mother.
There were such wonderful celebrations that the war was over.
My father was discharged from the army on April 29, 1946, and I returned to Rogers Road.
Two doors along from our house was St George’s Church, where The Dagenham Girl Pipers practised.
The vicar was the Reverend Herbert Samuel James Marshall.
I didn’t know then what an important part he would play in my life when I was older.
That’s because on July 4, 1959, he married Sheila and me at St Chad’s Church.
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