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Vivid memories of the war

PUBLISHED: 13:17 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 12:04 06 July 2010

I STILL recall the outbreak of the second world war when, at the tender age of eight and having been told war was declared, I thought it was something to celebrate.

I STILL recall the outbreak of the second world war when, at the tender age of eight and having been told war was declared, I thought it was something to celebrate.

Being a Sunday with the church bells ringing and the sun shining I fetched my skipping rope and put it into action chanting: “War is declared, war is declared!” My mother looked on, face devoid of expression, and said: “You do not know the meaning of the word.”

But we were soon to learn by hearing sirens wailing, planes droning overhead, bombs dropping all round, followed by the all clear. We would all dive under the big wooden table hoping if we did get hit that the table would save us.

The day arrived when a knock came on the door to which I answered. “Is your Mother in,” said this very smart, uniformed man. I replied: “No,” thinking he was the postman as it was mid December. I was disappointed I could not see any parcels. Then he said, “Your dad's boat The Carry On LT 553 has been blown up off Sheerness by a mine, all lives presumed lost.”

Well not quite, three men were picked up; my dad was one of them. So we now have his resting place in our village church where many years ago my dear mum joined him.

Sadly the conflict still goes on and as I pen this letter I'm looking at a scroll on the wall saying: “He gave his life to save mankind from tyranny. May his sacrifice help to bring the peace and freedom for which he died.”

My dad's name was Leonard Chase; blown up December 17, 1940.

M ELLISTON

The Firs

Lowestoft

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