My mother was one of six children, five girls and one boy. The girls were Doris, Winifred, May, Florence, and Violet, and the boy Oliver.
My father was also part of a large family but we cannot be sure how large, as the subject was hardly ever discussed. However we know that there were at least five boys who were Peter, Tom, Jim, Lawrence, and Joe, and two sisters, Liz and May.
Delving into various family documents has revealed that in 1938 My parents and I were living in rented accommodation, at No 4 Albany Road, New Maldon, and having googled that address, I find that the house is still standing and appears to be a respectable residence. However I have no actual memory of living there or of any events that occurred during the next two to two and a half years of my young life. My sister Diane was born on the eleventh of May nineteen forty, which must have caused some disturbance to the family routine, but not enough to have left any marks on my memory.
All the following information is given as I myself am able to remember it.
Having stirred the brain cells in order to discover what I was able to remember, I find that the very first clear memory which appears to be lodged among those interesting articles, is of someone carrying me downstairs from my bed, only half awake, and annoyed at being disturbed, to another bed located in a small shed in the back garden. As I came to know later, the small shed was in fact the Anderson Shelter situated in the rear garden of our uncle Barleys’ house at 13 Montague road Wimbledon. It, the shed not the house, was a sort of small Nissan hut half buried in the ground and covered over with the soil that had been dug out of the hole in which it sat. This was our defence of last resort against the Luftwaffe who had begun their night-time bombing raids on London at the beginning 1940. As I have no information about the reason for our being lodged at Montague Road, I assume the reason to be that father had been conscripted into, or volunteered for, the army at the start of the war and that mother and I, and later Diane, had moved in with our recently widowed grandmother who had been living on the first floor of that establishment, since our Grandfather Herbert John Crookes passed away in 1937.