VE Day remembered – 1

By 07/05/2020 Members Only

It’s difficult to distinguish what I really remember as a then 4 year old, and what I had subsequently been told. But I do have one certain memory…

We lived in a miners cottage near Cheadle in Staffordshire, close to the Air Force Listening Station where my father, a Flight Lieutenant, was based. He was fluent in German, French and Flemish and served as an Intelligence Officer. We were surrounded by nerds – some of whom I met years later and found were brilliant at solving crossword puzzles and playing and winning at “battleships”. The Station conducted a continuing listening operation, especially earlier in the War when German pilots overhead were flying to bomb Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. The translations were fed into Bletchley Park and some of them, including idle chatting between pilots, assisted in the solving of Enigma encryption codes.

There was no runway on the site, but just a cluster of huts, other buildings and aerials. Life was austere and I remember (I think) being washed in a tin path, and some of the awful rations, including powdered egg, spam and so on that we ate.

But I do certainly remember VE Day. It was Party Time, and there was a particularly amazing Fireworks Display put on at the Station, which I was able to see as I was held up in a window looking out over the Station. grounds. My memory is there probably because The impact was great because always previously we had had a strict blackout!

Michael Sander

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