Reflections – Sister Anne Martin – Chaplain to Shepton Mallet Air Cadets Battle of Britain Memories As the years go by there are fewer people to share their own memories of war time. What I remember are my Father's stories of his time in the RAF during the war and for years afterwards. At the beginning of the war Dad and two friends worked in the GPO, in the telephone section. They enlisted together for the RAF, because they wanted to be pilots. At the end of 6 months basic training all the other recruits went in coaches in one direction, and Dad and his friends went in a coach full of officers, in the opposite direction. They were very puzzled wondering where they were going. their destination was a radar station where their training in telephone systems could be put to good use. We talk of RADAR, but how do we get that word. I'm sure there's a cadet who will know. RAdio Detection And Range All of us are so used to wifi, GPS, mobile phones and now a day trip to space that it is hard for us to realise what an incredible breakthrough the use of radar was in 1940. With it, and with the help of coastline observers, it was possible to know when the German planes had taken off, from which direction they were coming and at what speed they were flying. The Luftwaffe was mystified because their planes would be met in the air, long before they thought the RAF would have any idea that they were on their way. If during the Battle of Britain we had not had had the advantage of radar it would have been easy for the Luftwaffe to bomb the airfields and the RAF planes, and the outcome of the war would have been very different. John Hawkins – Part 1 I remember going through London and seeing the bomb sites homes, factories and sometimes whole streets destroyed. And there were always children playing in the huge craters left by the bombs. After the war ended Rudi came to live with us for 6 months. He was like a wonderful big brother. One of the hundreds of children sent to England from the Netherlands where life had been incredibly hard during the German occupation. There had been such a desperate shortage of food that many people resorted to eating tulip bulbs. In England food was rationed during the war and for some years afterwards, but we didn't go hungry. I remember playing and talking with Rudi, and we didn't seem to have a problem with understanding each other although my sister only had a toddler's limited vocabulary, I had no Dutch and at first Rudi had no English. Later I learned that Rudi's father had run a garage and when German soldiers came to requisition his cars he begged them to leave them because without the cars he would have no business and be unable to support his family. Rudi had seen the Nazis shoot his father and older brother before taking the cars. When I remember what Rudi experienced in the war I give thanks to the RAF and all those who contributed in any way to the Battle of Britain which saved us from the horrors of a Nazi invasion. John Hawkins – Part 2 Battle of Britain Memories As the years go by there are fewer people to share their memories of war time. I have one very early memory of looking up at two small blue lights, and a sense of darkness and being surrounded by . . . Years later my mother filled in the rest of the story. She was taking me on the train from Cornwall- and eventually to Essex for a visit to my Grandparents. Our carriage was packed with soldiers who became increasingly anxious for the crying baby as the train waited for hours for the bombing raid over Portsmouth to end and it was finaly safe to enter the city station. If I don't have my own memories but I do remember my Father's stories of his time in the RAF. When the war started he and two friends worked in the GPO, which years later was to become Royal Mail and BT. They knew that if you joined up rather than waiting for conscription you could choose which service you went into. They chose the RAF, they wanted to be piots. At the end of basic training hundreds of the new recruits went in coaches in one direction, and Dad and his friends went in a coach full of officers, in the opposite direction. At the time they were puzzled and somewhat anxious. later they understood that with ther training in telephone systems they could be of some use in a radar station. We talk of RADAR, but how do we get that word. I'm sure there's a cadet who will know. RAdio Detection And Range This enabled the radar plotters aided by the coastline o

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