David Sanders

Recollections of memories of a wartime childhood.

Family life

When war was declared in September 1939, David Sanders was only one year old, and subsequently recalls nothing of the outbreak of war. He lived in Twickenham with his family. David’s father was not accepted into the forces as he did not pass the medical. Therefore he gained employment as a ‘jack of all trades’ – this involved a variety of different activities including working as a milkman, a delivery man and a decorator. This type of service was considered vital during the war years as it contributed to the war effort at home.

David’s father had been too young to fight during the First World War, and his grandfather was too old to enlist during the Second World War. He was interested to discover more about their war time memories but neither his father nor grandfather discussed them. Two of his uncles served in the Merchant Navy, and his mother undertook domestic work for a wealthy family. He recalls that during the period there was a lot of pressure placed upon men to provide for their families.


David was evacuated to Doncaster aged four or five.  He was taken to a school hall where lots of mattresses were laid out but he does not recall whether his parents were present. He remembers running across the makeshift beds to reach the toilet! He was billeted to the Dimline family who lived in a railway cottage – he was treated well and has many happy memories of his time as an evacuee. When he visited the cinema he recalls that there was only one film which was shown on a loop. He also recalls playing with both his neighbours and the Italian POWs held nearby. It was the first contact he had with people who were not British. When David returned home he remembers that he did not recognise his mother – to him she looked and sounded ‘too posh’.

Street parties

David remembers visiting his aunt in Chelsea and seeing the barrage balloons which seemed to fill the sky. He also recalls the sound of the doodlebugs and on occasion saw some falling. At the end of the war David experienced the celebratory street parties which took place. He saw Churchill with his cigar being driven past in an open topped car. Parties were also held when local residents returned home from service. 

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 14/03/2012.