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Sirens and Grey Balloons

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194 pages4 hours

Summary

Although the storm clouds of war were gathering in the late 1930s Britain was still a powerful force on the world stage, desperately seeking peace through a policy of appeasement whilst half heartedly preparing for war with Nazi Germany.
Although the great depression had eased somewhat and Britain had made social advances such as universal suffrage following the First World War, the underlying class structure in Britain had remained essentially intact. Even the senseless slaughter on the battlefields of France and Belgium wrought by half witted generals from the upper classes had only slightly ameliorated the class system endemic in the Island Nation.
Historic events of pressing magnitude were unfolding in 1939 and were destined to percolate down to the lives of almost every individual on the planet.
This narrative covers the life of a small boy living in a London suburb which sustained heavy damage from enemy bombing and where over a hundred of its citizens were killed and only ten percent of its buildings survived the war unscathed.
He recalls the terror of lying in a cupboard under the stairs as the Luftwaffe bombed his suburb, rationing, V1 flying bombs and long range rocket raids. His account encompasses a short period of evacuation to the safety of a country village, periods in hospital with severe illness and the relief experienced by a war torn populace when the news of Hitlers death heralded the end of the Third Reich and the Second World War.
His reminiscences also include details of his familys friendship with German prisoners of war following hostilities, his schooling, first job in the City of London and an account of his service when conscripted into the British Army where he became a member of the British occupation forces in Germany.
However, the main thread which weaves the narrative together lays in the many humorous episodes which punctuated his early years, particularly whilst in the British Army which appeared to have changed only marginally since the carnage of the First World War.

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