Maureen Booker

Wartime in hospital

Maureen Booker talks about becoming ill during the war.

A weekend of evacuation

Maureen Booker talks about being evacuated with her family.

Recollections of childhood memories of wartime in St Mary Cray.

Wartime in hospital

At the beginning of the war Maureen was seven years old and living with her family in St Mary Cray. During the war Maureen caught diphtheria and was hospitalized for a number of weeks. Being in an isolation ward she was not allowed visits from her family.

‘I can remember being in hospital and you laid down the middle of the ward, head to head, down the middle of the ward. You didn’t lay up near the windows like you see hospitals today. It was down the middle. We used to have raids, if we had a raid we used to have to get under the bed.’

Air raids and anxiety

‘We was all in shelter this night and this horrific bomb came down and it was like an express train coming through the sky.'

Returning home Maureen began to suffer from anxiety as a result of heavy aerial bombardment. Living in an alley, the sounds from the planes were particularly forceful. To recuperate Maureen moved in with her grandparents nearby. The air raid shelter in her grandparents’ garden was large and many members of her extended family sheltered there and shared ‘some great laughs in the shelter, believe it or not’. But the area suffered some heavy air raids:  

‘We was all in shelter this night and this horrific bomb came down and it was like an express train coming through the sky. That’s exactly what it was like and then we heard the enormous bang and in the morning we found that half the High Street was gone and my school and my church had gone as well.’

After a time of temporary schooling allowing the children to attend school only three days per week, the school was eventually reopened in a new building.

A weekend of evacuation

During the period of the V1 and V2 rockets in 1944, Maureen was evacuated to Chorley along with her mother, brother and sister, aunt, cousins and grandmother. However, the evacuation was to last only a weekend as the party could not settle in the grand manor house they were billeted into.


Wartime in hospital
Wartime in hospital (74k)
Transcript of audio recording with Maureen Booker.

A weekend of evacuation
A weekend of evacuation (77k)
Transcript of audio clip with Maureen Booker.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 23/02/2012.