Barry Fincham

Recollections of wartime in Dover.

Wartime in Dover

Born in the early 1930s, Barry Fincham lived in Dover with his family for the duration of the war. Although many of his school friends were evacuated from Dover at the threat of invasion, Barry remained at home as his mother wanted the family to stay together. Barry recalls witnessing the Battle of Britain, standing in the shelter to escape the falling shrapnel. For the first years of the war, the schools in the area had been closed. It was not until 1942 that Barry began to attend school again, initially part time with full time schooling commencing in 1943.

A 'huge explosion'

On 12 June 1941, a landmine fell near Barry’s home in Dover. Barry recalls hearing a ‘huge explosion’ in the middle of the night. In the morning, the road near where the bomb had dropped was ‘ankle deep in debris’. Randolph Road, the home of his grandparents, had been obliterated. Where their house had once stood was now only rubble. Barry’s grandfather had died in the explosion and a few weeks later his grandmother died from the injuries she had sustained. Following the incident, the couple’s two teenage sons who had survived the bomb, came to live with Barry and his family.

Air raids and shelling

By reason of its location, Dover suffered frequent air raids and shelling from the German guns across the channel. For a long period, most nights were spent in the shelter. In 1944, a shell fell on the family’s house causing extensive damage to the back of the house. Too frightened to run to the local shelter, the family had remained in the house, sheltering under the stairs during the incident. As the house had been badly damaged, the family were allocated a new home.

The effects of war

The war made a deep imprint upon Barry, ‘even after 60 years I still feel my stomach turn over when a low flying aircraft goes overhead, and sudden loud explosions cause my heart to miss a beat’.


Letter written by Barry Fincham
Letter written by Barry Fincham (66k)
To read more about Barry's wartime experiences in his own words please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 17/07/2012.