Ron Briggs

Childhood memories of life evacuation to Oxford and life on the Home Front.

Bad news

Ron moved with his family to Blackfen in 1937. When 1939 rolled around the first devastating news that Ron received was from his mother telling him he had to go to school – although he did not find it that bad after all. The second, of course, was the Prime Minister declaring war with Germany. He remembers the family gathered around the radio with the older members looking rather glum, the very next day his father and brother dug an underground shelter in the back garden although it filled with water every day so they had to take a swim whilst using it!

Wartime memories

In 1940 Ron was issued with a gasmask and the family a purpose built air raid shelter. The two main memories Ron took from the war were firstly, that rationing was introduced meaning that each person was only allowed a small portion of food each week. The second was him lying on the shelter looking up at the German planes when he looked to the right and saw a plane diving down, catching eye contact with a crewman as it fell.

A narrow escape

Ron had a close call when an unexploded bomb fell onto Jacksons and the army took it to a field near the cinema and cordoned off the area thinking that the public was safe. As soon as the bomb went off Ron ran towards it feeling hot air rush past his face – he looked down to see a piece of glowing shrapnel the size of his hand next to his feet.

Evacuation to Oxford

It was after this, in 1943, that Ron was evacuated to Cowley in Oxford where he spent an unpleasant year fighting with local children and attending a Sunday school with a rather sadistic teacher who used to whack them with a two inch thick bamboo stick. It was only after a year of pleading with his parents that he returned to Blackfen just in time for the V2 rockets.

Ron’s recollections of the end of the war were great celebrations, home-made fireworks and the burning of effigies of Adolf Hitler.


Ron Briggs
Ron Briggs (49k)
To read more about Ron's wartime experiences in his own words please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 07/06/2012.
Comments about this page

Does anyone remember having whale meat, during the war, it had a funny fishy taste. Does anyone remember having to swallow a spoonful of malt every day. Does anyone remember powdered egg, and milk. Ahhh happy days (not)

By Ron Briggs
On 16/07/2012