A Walk with the RAF in Lowestoft

Teresa Chapman, Slough

I remember after the war going to Lowestoft for a weeks holiday with my friend.

We were to stay at a holiday camp, but we found it so boring, being that we were 16 years old, and that we were expected to play ring a ring of roses with the young mothers and their children, so we just used the place for the sea, and our main meals, and lodgings, which we had paid for.

Fortunately we met some fellows who invited us for a walk. We met them that evening. What they did not tell us earlier was that they were with the R.A.F, and guarding the Radar station, and were dog handlers. Anyway we went for a walk and they showed us the Radar station, and a Pill box. I think they expected us to do some canoodling in there. They showed us into this pill box which as a child, and during the war, I used to call the three-penny-bit places. It was dark and damp and smelly. The handlers were fine but their dogs did not seem to be that friendly, so we manoeuvred them out and walked along the cliffs edge. These fellows were okay really, but had to keep pulling their dogs, bidding them to behave. Strange experience really. But I expect that without that lookout pillbox and Radar station we may not have been here now to tell the tale. Not to say that that was the only pillbox we had seen. During the war as a child, we played in the one at the foot of Wandsworth Bridge on the Fulham side, but only when the Wardens were not about. As for our beloved South park where we enjoyed many happy hours with our neighbourhood friends, in the wide open playing field. It was now sequined with great boulders something like the shape of the Darleks. So we had barely any space to play our usual team games. My older brother told me they were to stop enemy planes from landing. The thought terrified me so I was glad that the boulders had been placed there. I shivered as we passed the Piggy as my mother called it just over Wandsworth bridge. A great silver balloon, shaped like a pig, it had been lowered some feet off of the ground, in a factory space. The thought of that coming at me horrified me. So I pushed my mother to make her run to safety well past it.