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Night after night
in WW2 Anderson shelters

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A normal evening and night

I was six when the first blitz started. Every evening it was home from school, have tea, have a wash and get into our Anderson shelter with my mother and wait for my father to get home from work at about 6.30 pm. The shelter was at the bottom of the garden and we had a large tin full of candles which were to light the shelter.

Peter Johnson

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The family descends into the Anderson shelter

By 1943 I had a baby brother and we had a cat as a pet. Ludicrous as it may seem now, an evening ritual developed. When the first siren of the night sounded - as it did on most nights, usually between seven and nine o'clock - we would all make our way to our Anderson shelter. My mother would carry baby Richard, my father would carry Jimmy the cat, and I would go with them on foot in my dressing gown and slippers . We would settle down in the shelter for the night, smelling the bitumen and listening to the sounds around us.

John Cole

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And the hen came too

When the siren sounded, my grandmother's prize 'Rhode Island Red' hen was hastily dumped into a cardboard box to accompany us to the Anderson shelter. The cock, on the other hand, a vicious bad tempered creature which I hated with a passion, was left outside to face Hitler's bombs. I used to pray that my tormentor might 'cop it'!

Michael Sullivan

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The noise of the bombs

I well remember the 'doodle bugs' which I hated, as I knew that when the engine stopped they would fall. I was so scared waiting and listening to see if they would land on our house.

Jill Gaisford

I lived in Newport during the war and the bombing there was relentless because the Germans were trying to put the docks out of action. We spent every night in the Anderson shelter. Young as I was, I shall never forget the noise of the bombs as they came down. It was faint in the beginning, gradually getting louder and finally becoming a scream. As the scream got louder, all conversation stopped. We sat in deathly silence, just waiting, as there was no way of knowing whether or not the bomb would miss us. As it landed, we heard and sometimes felt the explosion. We had no idea what we were going to see when we emerged the next morning.

Ros Collins