Janet Neale

The blackout

Janet Neale talks about the blackout.

Childhood responsibilities

Janet Neale recalls helping her parents during the war.

'The sixty-first hit us'

Janet Neale talks about air raids and bomb damage.

Recollections of the heavy air raids on the Home Front.

'It was a norm'

Born in 1935, Janet was living with her family in Sidcup at the outbreak of war in 1939. Living with the family was also Janet’s grandmother who had left her home in Guernsey when it became clear that war was approaching.

The area suffered heavy air raids and Janet recalls how sheltering became part of everyday life:

‘I think it was all a bit of adventure, really... [I]t was a norm. That’s where you went to bed. So as I say a child...doesn’t question. I don’t think they do. I say I was only...just over nine when the...war finished. I think, perhaps, it affected my brother a bit more because he was a bit older’.

'The sixty-first hit us'

In the latter part of the war the family’s home was damaged by a V1 rocket:

‘Oh, it was horrendous...around here. The noise, you know, because of...the anti-aircraft guns. All the houses across the road were all flattened and...it was very bad around here. And then when the...V1’s started...the house next door we had that was practically demolished... The night of the V1’s my mother counted sixty stopped over the house and the sixty-first hit us.’

'I suppose it was shock, she got out of the shelter and she was' going, ‘Oh, my roses, my roses!’ All the vases were broken, all her roses were all over the floor.'

One particular moment of the night that the family’s house was bombed remains clear in Janet’s memory:

‘I remember when this V1 hit the house, my mother had, next door had a fantastic garden full or roses and she picked all the roses the night before and had them in vases all over the place and she, I suppose it was shock, she got out of the shelter and she was going, ‘Oh, my roses, my roses!’ All the vases were broken, all her roses were all over the floor. I remember that as clear as anything, her saying, ‘My roses, my roses!’

Following the raid

The bomb damaged the house and only one room was left without major damage. During the raid Janet sustained injury: ‘I was excited by all this, got out from the indoor shelter, hit my toe on the indoor shelter and then I developed tuberculosis in the bones of my foot through that injury’. To recuperate Janet was sent with her grandmother to stay with her aunt outside of Manchester where she remained for three months.  


Interview with Janet Neale
Interview with Janet Neale (190k)
To read the full transcript of Janet's interview please press the above link.

The blackout
The blackout (73k)
Transcript of audio clip with Janet Neale.

Childhood responsibilities
Childhood responsibilities (71k)
Transcript of audio clip with Janet Neale.

'The sixty-first hit us'
'The sixty-first hit us' (71k)
Transcript of audio clip with Janet Neale.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 29/02/2012.
Comments about this page

Its lovely to hear true life accounts of what it was like and to try and imagine what the people went through as you truly dont know untill some one like Janet neale explains the life in that time of her life.

By rachel hill
On 11/08/2012

Janet Neale was my Mum & she sadly died in August 2013 & her brother died 6 weeks to the day afterwards, so now we only have this written & audio record of her memories of being a child in the war. sadly fewer & fewer people are around to tell their stories now. My Mum was the my best friend & was loved by everyone she she knew.

On 11/05/2014