Betty Jessie Batchen

Recollections of sustaining injury from a delayed action bomb.

The outbreak of war

Betty Jessie Batchen (nee Parker) was born in Dagenham in 1935. At the outbreak of war Betty lived with her family in Woolwich, where the family had moved in 1938 to live closer to the Royal Arsenal where her father was employed. As Betty at the time was under five years old and could not to be evacuated without her mother, she remained in Woolwich.

'I wasn't going to die like Auntie Hilda had'

On one afternoon in September, Betty was outside playing in the garden with a friend when she was hit by a piece of shrapnel from an explosion of a delayed action bomb in a nearby street. She was rushed to hospital and was given only two hours to live. But when Betty was taken out of surgery and opened her eyes, she told her mum and dad that ‘I wasn’t going to die like Auntie Hilda had’. Betty suffered injury to her face and shoulder. After the incident ‘Mother had shown me my reflection in the mirror and told me I’d had an accident’.

Six weeks after the incident, Betty returned to school. She recalls how she ‘told people I’d fallen down the stairs...a delayed action bomb was too much to say!’


Betty Jessie Batchen
Betty Jessie Batchen (23k)
To read more about Betty's wartime experiences in her own words please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 12/06/2012.