A Low Flying Enemy Aircraft at Felixstowe

Derek Reading, Kent

I was living in Crofton Park, London SE4 for the early part of the war. We had a shelter in the garden and when we were fed up with that, we used an ‘Anderson Shelter' inside. My father and I slept on top and my mother inside. This seemed to be preferable to being woken in the early hours and running for the garden shelter.

However, when the ‘doodle-bugs' and V2s arrived, my uncle decided we should leave London and he picked Felixstowe as our refuge. My father couldn't join us as he was active in the ARP.

When we arrived, the beach was completely sealed off with barbed wire. We could only gaze at the sand and wonder what it would be like to play there.

On the cliff tops outside the barbed wire, were the Ack-Ack guns. The soldiers were wonderfully friendly and together with my cousin, I spent many happy hours sitting side by side on the gun. One of us would raise or lower the barrel, whilst the other swivelled the gun from side to side all the time pretending that we were the last line of defence of our country.

One day, when sitting on a grassy bank near to the ‘Spa' pavilion, a German fighter plane flew just across the sea-front, very low. The pilot was very clear and waved as he passed. Of course, we, particularly my mother, did not realise now unimportant we were and sat transfixed with fear.

When the war finished, I watched as the mines on the beach were blown up. Soon they were cleared and the barbed wire taken away.