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VE Day 75: Childhood memories of rockets, air raids and ‘evacuation’ in Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 14:30 08 May 2020

VE Day Celebrations in Pemberton Gardens, Chadwell Heath. Ron's brother in law, Keith Brooks, is front row, far right. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

VE Day Celebrations in Pemberton Gardens, Chadwell Heath. Ron's brother in law, Keith Brooks, is front row, far right. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

Archant

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.

Ron Lloyd aged seven at Trafalgar Square on May 8, 1945, at the VE Day Celebrations. The bus in the background still has the diamond shaped protection on the windows. The picture was sent to Ron's father who was serving in Germany then. Picture: Ronald LloydRon Lloyd aged seven at Trafalgar Square on May 8, 1945, at the VE Day Celebrations. The bus in the background still has the diamond shaped protection on the windows. The picture was sent to Ron's father who was serving in Germany then. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

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.

Ron's mother, Ethel Lloyd, during the Second World War. She was a dressmaker and used to model dresses. Picture: Ronald LloydRon's mother, Ethel Lloyd, during the Second World War. She was a dressmaker and used to model dresses. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

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.

Ron's dad Philemon Lloyd serving in Germany in 1945. Picture: Ronald LloydRon's dad Philemon Lloyd serving in Germany in 1945. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

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.

During the VE Day Celebrations Ron went with his mother to London including Trafalgar Square, where he saw V1 and V2 rockets displayed. He also saw a captured U Boat submarine which he clambered aboard with his mum. Picture: Ronald LloydDuring the VE Day Celebrations Ron went with his mother to London including Trafalgar Square, where he saw V1 and V2 rockets displayed. He also saw a captured U Boat submarine which he clambered aboard with his mum. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

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.

Gladys Brooks and her son, Keith (Ron's brother in law) at Whalebone Lane anti aircraft gun site's Open Day during the VE Day celebrations, 1945. Picture: Ronald LloydGladys Brooks and her son, Keith (Ron's brother in law) at Whalebone Lane anti aircraft gun site's Open Day during the VE Day celebrations, 1945. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

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.

Dagenham Girl Pipers on parade in Holgate Road. Picture: Ronald LloydDagenham Girl Pipers on parade in Holgate Road. Picture: Ronald Lloyd

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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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