Georgina Remembers

My father had ducks, rabbits, doves, chickens and pigeons

By Georgina Kelly

I was three when the war broke out, so I don’t have many horrendous memories other than the fear on my mother’s face and on all the mothers’ faces as there weren’t any shelters near us in Kensington. We were living quite near to Ladbroke Grove station; although it is an Underground station it is actually an overground so it wasn’t safe if there was a raid.  The very nice manager of the ABC cinema which was opposite there at the time, used to open the cinema at night and let us stay there if there was a raid.  How we ever thought it was any safer than staying in our houses I don’t know but at least it meant we did all feel safe and were together.

My brother and I were evacuated which I can’t remember. But I do remember the sand, sea and there was a big plain. My father decided to bring us back after a very short time on the premise that if they were killed then he’d want us killed also. I know that sounds awful but rather than having two kiddies on their own during the war, he thought it was better that we all went at once. So we all slept in the same room. The windows would be taped up just in case the glass smashed so it would all stay together. I can remember horrible things like when the sirens went off my stomach would go over, even at that young age.  I remember when the corner of Cambridge Gardens and St Marks Road was hit, as I actually heard it. 

My father had ducks, rabbits, doves, chickens and pigeons so we had everything and we lived in the Jewish district so everybody did deals the whole time. I haven’t got a terribly sad story.  All I can remember is my mother's face looking very strained and if there was nowhere else to go she would put us under the mangle as she thought that might take the strain, there was nothing organised in terms of shelters where we lived so you did what you could. The school that I went to on Portobello Road had the middle of it completely blown out. 

The only conclusion that I’ve come to, which I have never spoken to my brother about, was that my father grew up without a father and this caused him a terrible longing, which I don’t think he wanted for us and therefore would prefer us to go as an entity rather than grow up without parents.


This page was added by Camilla Bergman on 24/08/2011.

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