By Paul Golding


MAY 21st.       Hitler and Grand Admiral Raeder discuss possibilities of invasion of Britain.
MAY 27th.       Rear Admiral Kurt Fricke draws up fresh plan for invasion called “Studie England”, preliminary rounding up of craft begins.
JULY 2nd.        After returning from Tanneberg Hitler declares his seriousness about invasion.
JULY 17th.       Hitler issues directive number sixteen.

Thirteen divisions are earmarked for invasion. The same day the army finishes detailed plans for a landing on a broad front on the English south coast. The main thrust as in France is to fall to Field Marshal Von Rundstedt commander of army group “A”. His six infantry divisions are to embark in the Pas De Calais and hit the English beaches between Ramsgate and Bexhill. Four divisions of Adolf Strauss’s ninth army are to cross the Channel from Le Havre landing between Brighton and the Isle of Wight. Further west three divisions of Field Marshal Von Reichnaus sixth army are to embark from  the Cherbourg peninsular to land in Lyme Bay. Ninety thousand men would form the first wave and by the third day two hundred and sixty thousand men would be ashore. In addition airborne forces are to be dropped in Lyme Bay and other areas.  Six armoured and three motorised divisions will follow in two days, after one week there will be thirty nine divisions and two airborne divisions ashore. The objective is as follows, group “A” are to push in a line between Gravesend and Southampton. The Sixth army are to  head north to Bristol to effectively cut off Devon and Cornwall. The secondary objective is to put a line between Malden on the east coast north of the Thames to the Seven river blocking of Wales.

JULY 31st.        Hitler meets military chiefs on the Obersalzberg. Raeder, Keitel and Jodl are present from OKW as are Brauchitsch and Halder from the army high command. Raeder is hopeful of success using both captured French ships and the Italian navy for protection from the Royal navy.
AUG 1st.           Hitler issues directive 17.

Fuhrers Headquarters,

Aug 1, 1940


Directive number seventeen for the conduct of Air and Naval warfare against England. In order to establish the conditions necessary for the final conquest of England, I intend to continue the Air and Naval war against  England more intensely than before. To this end I issue the following orders:

1.     The German Air force force is to overcome the British Air force with all the means at its disposal and as soon as possible.......

2.     After gaining temporary or local air superiority the air war is to be carried out against harbors, especially against establishments connected with food supply...... Attacks on harbors on the southern coast are to undertaken on the smallest scale possible, in view of our intended operations......

3. The Luftwaffe is to stand by in force for Operation Sea Lion.

4.     I reserve for myself the decision of terror tactics as a means of reprisal.

5.     The intensified air war may commence on or after August 6...... The navy is authorised to begin the projected intensified Naval warfare at the same time.


The directive signed by Keitel on behalf of Hitler on the same day read in part:




The C., Navy having reported on July 31 that the necessary preparations for Sea Lion cannot be completed before September 15, the FUHRER has ordered: Preparations for Sea Lion are to be  continued and completed by the Army and Air force by September 15. Eighth to fourteen days after launching the air offensive against Britain, scheduled to commence around August 5, the FUHRER will decide whether the invasion will take place this year or next.In spite of the Navies warning that it can  guarantee only the defence of a narrow strip of coast (as far west as Eastbourne), preparations are to be continued for the attack on a broad basis as originally planned...... Requirements for the navy are 1,722 barges, 1,161 motorboats, 472 tugs and 155 transports.


AUG 12-17th.  Luftwaffe attacks radar stations.
AUG 15th.        Goring begins air offensive, Operation Eagle. Three air fleets are used, number two under Kesselring operating from the low countries and northern France. Number three under Sperrle based in northern France and number five under Stumpff based in Norway and Denmark. Fleets numbers two and three totaled nine hundred and twenty nine bombers, eight hundred and seventy five fighters and three hundred and twenty six dive bombers. Number five was much smaller totaling one hundred and twenty three bombers and thirty four twin engined ME.110’s.
AUG 24th.        Goring switches tactics to the destruction of the Royal Air Force sector stations.
AUG 24-SEPT 6th.      Goring sends one thousand bombers daily to England. All fighter stations in southern England are extensively damaged as are six of the seven sector stations
AUG 27th.        Keitels signature lays down final plans, orders are given for diversionary tactics on the British east coast to lure away British forces.
SEPT 1st.         Movement of shipping from Germanys northern ports to embarkation areas begins.
SEPT 3rd.         Hitler issues directive number 18.



The earliest day for sailing of the invasion fleet has been fixed as September 20 and that for the landings September 21. Orders for the launching of the attack will be given on D-minus-10 day, presumably therefore on September 11. Final commands will be given at latest on D-minus-3 day, at midday. All preparations must remain liable to cancellation 24 hours before zero hour.



SEPT 7th.         Massive bombing of London begins, six hundred and twenty five bombers protected by six hundred and forty eight fighters, attacks are kept up on air fields and sector stations.
SEPT 10th.       Goring and Hitler meet to discuss the state of the Royal Air Force, Goring gives assurances that the invasion can now take place.
SEPT 20th.       Armada sets sail, air bombardments continue.
SEPT 21st.       Landings begin.



                                         CHAPTER ONE

Tom and his pals  had been sure that the invasion would take place that summer, Hitler would have too invade England to crush the last country in Europe offering resistance to the fascists, slight though that might be at the moment in view of the heavy defeat and miracle of Dunkirk, the bulk  of England’s heavy equipment laying still on the beaches and surrounding villages of that ruined area. All through the summer they had been waiting for it and so had the government in Whitehall and on September the seventh Churchill released the code word Cromwell signifying that the invasion was imminent. This had caused no end of problems, the endless ringing of church bells, the blowing up of several bridges in Norfolk and Kent by the royal engineers which when it can to it only helped the axis as it stopped English re-enforcement’s from reaching the beleaguered forces on the south coast and several casualties by those stumbling over hastily laid anti-personnel landmines.

So throughout July and August 1940 while the government mined beaches, laid thousands of miles of barbed wire, constructed fortified points Tom and his pals had laid traps of their own in the woods near their houses as well as laying in what they called emergency rations as no doubt were thousands of others around the country. On any day that summer troops could be seen digging ditches and anti-tank defences ,the fields and common areas near the boys home now resembled an alien landscape covered with barrel-like blocks of concrete ,iron posts buried in holes, wrecked cars and machinery  the purpose to stop the landings of German aircraft and gliders. The main bulk of the home forces were situated in the south east corner of the Country for they was where the military chiefs expected the blow to fall.

Tom lived in the  village of Marden Hill a small rural community  some fourteen miles north of Eastbourne and  six miles west of Ticehurst in  East Sussex. It had been a quiet village up until the outbreak of hostilities now it had almost half the population again as it had six months ago the pre war population of  three hundred and twenty swollen to close on five hundred by those people evacuated from London with the onset of large bomber raids. The school hall was full as was the manor that stood on top of the hill these two buildings having been designated as temporary accommodation for transitory peoples being re-located to the south-west of the country. Even though there were  now several dozen additional children in the village Tom and his friends did not mix with these lads from London as the felt they were intruding on their patch, besides what was the point of making friends with lads who would be moving away all to soon.

The village mainly comprised mainly just  of the main street , the buildings all dated from the middle of the seventeenth century, the bulk of the properties bedecked with climbing ivy’s and the such like, in the spring the whole of the main street looked like a flower festival , however in the summer as now although it was still very picturesque the buildings and street had taken on a rather dusty and run down look even though the brass foot plates at the doors were kept gleaming as were the interiors. The other main part of  Marden Hill was the green , a few acres of common ground around which some two dozen properties had been constructed in the middle of the green was the village duck pond though over the last ten or so years this had a tendency of drying out in high summer and the ducks either left for a while or looked wistfully at the remaining little pool in the middle wishing probably for a downpour to restock its supplies. Just north of the green facing onto a part of the main road  (called the Ticehurst Road) stood the church, still very much a focal point for the majority of the village folk, the other main meeting place being the Bulls Head stood on the opposite corner. The church was a medieval building and on a Sunday the building always a good attendance  as not only did Marden Hill residents attend but also those from outlying districts and even a few from Wadhurst. The vicar was man in his mid-forties  with a waist-line measuring roughly his age a welcoming grin and a rather dishevelled mop of hair on his head. Tom and his friends while believing in god did their best to avoid the church if at all possible. Over from the church on the north side of the road was Mrs Hopkins house which also doubled as the village post office. All manner of gossip could be picked up from this building regarding who was dating or seeing who and the like , Mr Hopkins had recently taken to writing on a chalk board at the front of the shop notices like 140 for 16 referring to recent air battles over Britain making it almost sound like a cricket match. The boys often went to the chalk board to find out the latest scores which sparked furious debates amongst them.

Next door to the post office stood Mr Fultons butchers shop and next to that stood Mr Griffiths the green grocers and that accounted for all the shopping facilities of Marden Hill. The only other buildings of note were the school and the Squires manor as previously mentioned the school was now occupied by refugees from London which meant  the local boys and girls education was suffering, the parents were concerned over this but not the boys. The situation of displaced people was the same at the manor house, the hall itself the outbuildings and even parts of the stable were full to overcrowding but the squire hoped that within a short period of time the sad citizens would be away to places further a field in the north and west country.

Tom was now fifteen years old, a strong, healthy lad who was not unaccustomed to long hours of work on his fathers farm which lay just south of the village. His closest friends were John, Frank and William (or Bill to his mates). Johns father was away serving on H.M.S. Royal Oak somewhere out in the Atlantic escorting merchant vessels that still struggled to bring in the foodstuffs and war materials for the war effort. Bills father was either a prisoner of war held in France or Germany or buried somewhere on the beaches of Dunkirk, there had been no news of him since the ill fated B.E.F had departed those few months ago. Franks father was still around he worked in London for the Ministry of Defense.

Tom and his friends spent a lot of time helping out on the farm as there was more than enough work to be done. Seven other people were employed there full time, two of those had been with Mr Hurst for several years the other five were quite recent acquisitions from the Land Girls Army as Mr Hurst attempted to bring more and more land under cultivation to meet the demands the country was putting on all farmers to increase the tonnage of grains being produced. The work was hard but the boys enjoyed it competing with each other all the time for a few kind words from Toms father as he had now in all intents and purposes become all the boys fathers. John, Frank and Bills mothers also helped out as at meal times there were as many as fifteen meals to be prepared, it was for them on the whole a nice existence they all had enough to eat which was more than could be said for some folk. After meals Toms father would turn on the wireless and listen to the news from London, not that it was ever good at the moment everything seemed to be going the Germans way.

One Wednesday in the middle of August the boys were out in the fields when Bill looked up into the sky. High above a furious dog fight was taking place, a lone German Dornier bomber was trying vainly to avoid the attention of a spitfire though at the altitude the aircraft were flying the boys were not a hundred percent sure if it was a spitfire. Already one of the dorniers engines was on fire leaving a greasy trail of black smoke behind it although the pilot was still trying violent evasive maneuvers to escape its inevitable fate. The boys on the ground cheered wildly and dashed across the fields trying to keep up with the action, suddenly the bomber shuddered appeared almost to stop in mid air its wings crumpled upwards and the fuselage carried on , on its own accord for a few moments before spiraling sharply earthwards along side the wings, Tom heard a loud blast a few seconds later  as the wreckage of the bomber smashed into the British countryside some miles away from where the boys were. The boys were overjoyed, how could the British be overcome with heroes such as the fighter pilot?. Little did they know that these aces were nearly at the end of their tethers flying several sorties a day, having to land on damaged or hastily repaired landing strips with machines that were wearing their parts rapidly as spare aircraft were in short supply along with replacement  pilots, they just could not be trained fast enough to counter the pilot losses that the Royal  Air Force were suffering, casualties on landing were nearly as high as those sustained in combat. If the damaged rate to machines and pilots continued at the same rate the air force would cease to exist in a few short months.

On September the second the four lads were lounging around by the gates of Hurst farm watching vapor trails of aircraft several thousand feet above them, their tasks for the morning had been completed, Frank was complaining that he had wrenched a muscle in his arm moving some sacks of potatoes but as is the case with young lads none of the others were particularly interested with his problem but it if it had been one of them with the sprain they would have complained much louder and longer than Frank.Tom sauntered over to the wall on one side of the gates and placed a tin can on it. This was one of the boys favorite pastimes hitting the can with a stone from a distance the rules were to strictly adhered to, no one was allowed to set foot over the line etched by  Toms boot in the dust, stones had to approximately of the same size and weight and no one was allowed to throw out of turn it was one of the games they played to show their mastery over each other. Bill was to throw first he cocked his arm wound up his body like they had been American baseball players do in the movie tone news and chucked the stone with all his might. The stone left his hand hurtled over the wall to a loud "Hoy!" from the far side, the boys raced to wall and peered over to be greeted by the sight of Mr Jones the postman picking himself of the ground where he had fallen flat to avoid the missile. Mr Jones dusted himself down looking none to pleased "Having fun then are we lads." he said walking up to the gate. Bill was very red in the face "I’m sorry Mr Jones I had no idea that there was anyone coming up the lane."

"Well maybe next time you'll check first, that could have given me a right old crack had it connected" Tom swiftly apologised on behalf of them all . "That's all right Tom, just as I say be a bit careful in the future." The postman turned around from the waist to get a good grip  on his sack and swung it onto the yard wall and proceeded to dive his hand inside to retrieve a few letters for Toms father. "While I’m here Bill Ive got a letter for you in my sack, give me half a jiffy and Ill get it out for you."

"Great a letter for me, that's brilliant, I hardly ever receive mail." The boys crowded a bit closer to have a look." I wouldn't be to happy with that if I were you lad Ive seen to many envelopes like that recently." the postman commented as he turned to walk back through the gates. "Don't listen to him," said Frank "it could be anything, go on get it open." Bill looked long and hard at the envelope for all intents and purposes it could have been a rattle snake in his hand as he slowly drew the letter up to eye level. He ripped the top of the envelope and pulled out it contents , his stomach clenched and he felt momentarily weak as his own personal fears were realised, he had been drafted and was to report to Aldershot in four days time. His friends however were jubilant when the contents became known. "Gosh Bill you really are lucky , just think you'll be able to use a machine gun and everything," said Tom. "Or drive a tank like my Uncle Tommy in Africa."

"Or get myself shot or captured like my dad ." replied Bill," my mum will go mad."

"Don't think like that Bill nothing will happen to you, you'll be all right you know you will."           Five minutes later the four boys could be seen walking back to the farm house the three younger lads chattering away about Bills good fortune, and Bill his shoulders slightly stooped bringing up the rear in silence.

  When Bill mum read the call up papers she broke down on tears. "They have had one already what more do they want? " she sobbed, "first his father and now him." Mrs Travers put one of her meaty arms around her shoulder trying to console  her friend "Don't cry on so June it will be all right I’m sure, here wipe you teats away love with this" she said passing a spotted handkerchief to her friend with her spare hand. But June was inconsolable and the boys shuffled out of the kitchen embarrassed at seeing an adult cry. Bill took his leave of his pals saying he needed time to himself.

The night before Bill was due to leave the boys went of by themselves to the hill top overlooking the Heathfield road and the village, Bill had never been a strong boy and was worried as to how he would fare with the other recruits. He had got over most of his early misgivings thanks to his friends and was quite looking forward to donning a uniform for the king, but the rigorous training he was to undergo still daunted him. "Don't worry Bill, millions of blokes go through it and your a lot stronger and tougher than most of the city boys, why you have working  on this farm for ages doing all sorts of things that's got to count for something hasn't it?" said John encouragingly.

"Just because your thin doesn't mean you wont make a good soldier." added Tom

"I’m glad your confident because I’m not, besides what's the point the Germans will of invaded before Ive had a chance to finish my training."

"No way, uncle Adolf wouldn't dare to invade until our finest soldier is trained otherwise it would be easy for him." Frank said. The other three laughed, Tom stood up and put his left in the air in a parody of a nazi salute. "Ve cannot invade yet Herr Bill is nut yet trained it vould not be fair." the others laughed again and Tom collapsed on the floor with them in giggles.” Really though I wish I didn’t have to go.” Bill said. “Don’t worry Bill we will be there with you soon enough our sixteenth birthdays are only just around the corner.”

“Not soon enough for my liking it would have been really great if we could have all gone into this together. Bill looked away from the other three and stared at the beauty around him, the sun was just starting to set setting the sky on fire with vivid reds and purples of every shade, the small village below them with its wisps of smoke issuing from several chimney tops its thatched roofs and villagers about their business occasionally glancing skyward as though they expected a rain of bombs to descend down from the skies looked to him like something out of a Grimms fairy story and he wondered if he would ever look down on his home again. “come on “ said Tom, interrupting his thoughts lets go down “I for one am starving.”

The mood that night was not as it normally was in the kitchen at Hurst farm, there was little laughter and what there was was forced, for behind every ones was waxed smiles was the thought that Bills going was in a way the start of the German invasion  and that in all reality Bill would be dead within a few short months.

  In the morning they all helped him finish of his packing while his mother and the other ladies helped cook a farewell breakfast for him, it was a veritable feast, with hot and cold meats, eggs, toast and gallons of scalding hot tea. Ten o’clock came and it was time for Bill to go. Bills mother went upstairs with him to get his bags and it was several minutes before the both re-appeared red eyed and hoarse.” Don't worry Bill everything will turn out fine, why, in a few weeks time you’ll be home on leave looking smart as smart in your new uniform I’m sure you will cut quite a dash when you return.”

“Thanks Mr Travers I hope I live up to your expectations.”

“I’m sure you will William,” his mother said putting her arm around him for maybe the final time. Bill clung to his mum as though drowning. “don’t worry so Bill, now get of with you before you miss that train.

The boys left with Bill to escort him to the station, the weather had taken turn for the worse overnight and the sky was sullen threatening a downpour at some stage in the day and it was with low spirits that the four of them tramped through the village up to the train station as they were passing the post office Miss Hopkins came out to wish Bill luck and pushed a bag into his hands for the journey, inside was a whole pound of bullseyes. Bill thanked her and they carried on their way, several people they saw waved and wished him luck in the coming weeks. They got to the station at twenty passed ten, ten minutes early so they helped themselves to the sweets and sat around and waited “Have you got your time table with you Bill,” Tom asked.

“Yeah its in my pocket.”

“Right , well at least you’ll make it to Aldershot then.” Frank laughed and at that moment they heard a whistle and the train came into view blowing up vast clouds of steam as it alighted at the platform. The boys all shook hands and private William Tomlinson boarded and was away amid lots of waving and shouting. The walk back to the farm was one of the depressing walks of Toms life, the skies had finally opened and he felt totally wretched inside and when he got in and toweled himself dry he went to his bed and cried until his voice was hoarse.


September the seventh was a day to remember. It started out as a normal day with the three boys getting up with the sun, doing a full day of work in the fields, eating their evening meal and retiring to bed as usual at about nine o’clock. As they lay in bed  chatting to each other about Bill and how things might be possibly going for him, Toms attention was drawn to the window by a faint red flickering on the horizon in the direction of London. “What do you think that could be?” He asked.

“It looks like a big fire in the distance to me.” Frank replied.

“Come on then lets get dressed and go up to the top of the hill, we should be able to get a much better look from there.” Said Tom.

“Your dad will go barmy if he finds us out at this hour.” John said, as always the voice of reason when untoward things were about to happen.

“Well if we are all quiet he wont, will he, come on lets go.” Tom got out of bed and started pulling on his cloths, Frank was right with him and after a moment's hesitation so was John. Once dressed they sneaked quietly down the stair case out through the back door and sneaked straight into  Toms dad and the women who were already outside looking at the dun glow on the horizon. Tom plucked up courage and spoke “Dad, what is that glow?”  Mr Travers turned round  with a worried expression on his face, “They’re burning London lad, the Germans are burning London.” He repeated it softly to himself, his thoughts wandering from the sight in front of his eyes as he thought of the poor souls who would be dead or homeless in that inferno before the night was out. ‘How many’ he thought. He had no answer. Very faintly almost on the edge of hearing a faint rumbling could be heard as the rain of bombs continued unabated. “Come on lads, inside with with you , this is no sight for eyes such as your,” he said shepherding them towards the kitchen, the boys didn’t protest.

On Monday the ninth Mr Travers purchased a copy of the Times. The headline read ‘Massed air attack on London’ Mr Travers read the article to the women and boys. ‘In the heaviest German air attacks yet made, severe and widespread damage was caused in London on Saturday evening and again on Saturday night. The enemy paid a heavy price, 99 aircraft-about a quarter of his force-being destroyed. Twenty-two of our aircraft are missing, but the pilots of nine are safe. The attacks were concentrated on the thickly populated riverside area east of the city, and it is provisionally estimated that about 4000  people have been killed and some 1,300 to 1,400 have been seriously injured’. This was the first of the tactics that Hitler was to employ against the British.

Later on that day more refugees appeared in the village, all looked worried and tired and when asked what their destination was the answer was uniformly the same “Away from London.”. They had a pitiful amount of possessions with them, just a few things that could be carried or pushed along in a hand cart. Children were crying and the mothers were trying their best to keep them happy. As the day progressed the numbers slowly increased all were unkempt and disheveled looking. The trains to the West were packed as well it was as though the entire population of London was on the move. Tom, Frank and John spent the day digging a pit in the woods and filling it with sharpened sticks, for they now felt that the invasion was imminent. The bulk of the villagers were of the same opinion and the topic of conversation that night in the ‘Bulls Head’ was one of  when the blow would fall and what could be done to stop it. Most reckoned before the end of the month would see the Germans landing on the British shores and not a few doubted that the invasion could be halted by the ravaged army England had its disposal at the moment. “Why our boys left a load of equipment behind when they pulled out of Dunkirk, and I know because my boy was there and he told me so,” said Old Nic one of the farms' hands from Stubbs farm. “And these Germans are fearsome fighters by all accounts.”

“Nah, we beat them in the great war and  we’ll beat the bastards again.” retorted Mr Fulton the butcher.

“Aye, but we had the frogs and the yanks on our team that time, but not now we’re on our own.”

“Well I don’t know why your all talking of this invasion anyway, I’m sure Adolf will try it  but what about the royal navy? They won’t be sat on their backsides twiddling their thumbs, the krauts have got nothing like our navy. Why they’ll be blown out of the water before they desecrate the shores of blighty.”

“Crap, those half trained spaghetti eaters aren’t a patch on our boys.”

“Well I’m not too sure, I’m not being defeatist or nothing, but I’m not happy by a long chalk,” he said drinking his pint and going to the bar for a refill. When Nic was at the bar Mr Fulton leant over to Toms dad. “And what do you think George?”

“To tell the truth,” he said taking a swig, “I half agree with Old Nic, but what really worries me is if the invasion happens and the Nazi’s are triumphant what’s going to happen to my boys.” No-one apparently had an answer and one by one they finished their drinks and left the pub bidding the landlord goodnight as they went. As Mr Travers made his way back to the farm he could see again the red glow of the burning city.

On September the eleventh the whole village was woken suddenly by a series of loud explosions there was a short moment of quiet and then an even louder series of bangs. In the morning everyone was full of speculation as to what it could have been. Some were of the opinion that the invasion was already under way and the bangs they had heard were artillery shells, others thought that they were stray German bombers who had ditched their load before returning to France. All day there was confusion with people locking up possessions and burying curios and the suchlike and it wasn’t until mid morning that the answer to the bangs became apparent. Miss Hopkins the postmistress and switchboard operator came up with the answer, apparently two German bombers had lost sight of their targets in the dark and flying blind had seen a light in Wadhurst and had ditched their bombs prior to departing from home. Six people were known to have lost their lives and another five were seriously injured, not only that  a local farmer had lost fourteen of his livestock in a direct hit.

When the boys heard of the news via Johns mum, they were very excited and finally after much pleading they persuaded Toms dad to let them go and have a look.  The boys got on their pushbikes and set off at once with Mr Travers warning ringing in their ears. ‘Be back before dark and woe betide you if you get into any mischief.’  Wadhurst was only a few miles away to the West and the countryside in that direction was relatively level so after fifteen minutes furious pedaling they arrived at the scene. One fire engine was still damping down the remains of a building on the main road, farther down the town hall was damaged and the clock face was smashed. At the rear of the building motor-cars belonging to the town hall office staff who were on night duty were crumpled like cardboard and overturned to be crushed beneath the concrete roof of the motor shelter, which had collapsed. Nearby there was a large hole in the ground and a water main had been ruptured. All that was to be seen of another car was a heap of scrap. Huge pieces of concrete foundations of the motor shelter some of them weighing over a ton were thrown high on top of a heap of rubble as pebbles on a beach. On the other side of the road immediately opposite a motor showroom was completely demolished as was the ironmongers next door. In the ironmongers lived and old woman and her daughter who by a miracle had survived unscathed. The confectioners shop nearby was also damaged (much to the grief of the local children) as was a chapel a few doors away. The roads around were littered with debris and in the main street an electric standard was demolished. A large proportion of the earthenware pipes that carried the electric cables beneath the pavement were hurled in heap across the road in front of the town hall. Amongst the rubble of the various buildings, parts of possessions peeked out, part of a chair here a curtain flapping there. Nearby the rest of the string of bombs had fallen right across the green, the holes in the earth were very deep and  soil banked up all round the them. In some of them water had already seeped and ducks had already made it a temporary home. The only locals present did not look at all pleased with the boys ogling at the ruin and they soon took the hint after quick and fruitless souvenir hunt. At the end of the main street the boys were obliged to wait for a few minutes for a convoy of vehicles to weave their way through the concrete obstructions that had been placed at the entrance of all towns to hinder the movement of the enemy when they arrived. Though at present all the purpose they served to was to annoy locals who were for ever being delayed as they went about their business.

  “Well did you satisfy yourselves then boys?” Franks mother asked whey they eventually turned up just as dusk was creeping on.

“No mother,” replied Frank “It was all very upsetting.”

“Put it out of your heads lads it was a one off.” Tom’s dad added.

“But London isn’t is it dad?”

Mr Travers stretched and cracked his knuckles. “Your right of course Tom”

On September the Twelfth Mr Travers announced that he would be going away for a few days and when asked where he replied that he was off to Tunbridge to receive his partial training from the home guard stationed there. The following morning he hitched up the horse to the buggy and set off. “See you in a few days, and boys look after your mothers and don’t forget top do the list of jobs I want doing while I’m gone.” Those two days while he was away were terrible the Germans kept up their bombing of London, the airfields and ports. In the Evening Argus on the night of the  twelfth there was a report that stated that German long range guns based in Calais were shelling Dover. It was learned later that four people had died and five were injured, damage was though on the whole was very light. Rumours went round that German paratroopers had landed near Sunbury. The radio reports were not re-assuring either, the government had now conceded that an invasion was indeed very possible. Civilians were asked to keep a watch out for any suspicious individuals and anyone who could not be readily identified were to be escorted to the proper authorities. The army to began to show in much larger numbers, lorries ground their way through the villages by day and night towing anti-aircraft guns and howitzers, tanks to clanked their way slowly southwards. There were even red cross vehicles in evidence.

Apart from the impending invasion though everything for that time of year was perfect. The corn looked like being a bumper crop, as were the vegetables that had been planted. The fruit trees were bending under the strain of the fruit they were carrying and the children were having the best scrumping season for many a year. The orchard owners though did not see it that way and spent many an hour watching their crops to foil the youngsters. The weather remained glorious with hardly a cloud in the sky and the temperatures soared into the eighties, with many people still taking their annual holidays on the south coast, even though the beaches were barbed wired and mined.

Mr Travers returned from Maidenhead on the fifteenth sporting a khaki uniform that looked decidedly to large for him, a pair of boots and a tin hat. “They gave us these as we arrived, I’ve spent the last two days putting in on marching about and taking it off again. The rifles we were to have practiced with have been diverted to god knows where so we had practice rifle drill with old broom handles and chair legs. How we are to stop Jerry when he arrives I haven’t got a bloody clue.” Mrs Travers gave him a big hug and took the uniform from his hands. “I’m so glad to see you back safe and sound its been absolutely awful with you being away, all sorts of rumors have been going about and I’m having trouble getting all the things I need.  “There, There, don’t you worry now I’m back and I’ll not be going anywhere again.” He sat himself down and his wife poured him a cup of tea while the boys crowded round and plied him with questions.


To Be Continued.


This site was designed by a top bird. You can email her here if you want her to design yours... (you can delete this if you want, Paul!)