Children of an eastern suburb of London, who have been made homeless by the random bombs of the Nazi night raiders, waiting outside the wreckage of what was their home. September 1940. New Times Paris Bureau Collection. (USIA)
Exact Date Shot Unknown
NARA FILE #: 306-NT-3163V
WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1009

From The Book of Gran

Bashing The Bishop

By 1942 the war was in full swing. Europe was so crowded with soldiers that there wasn’t enough room to fight properly so Mr Churchill and old Adolph decided to move some of their armies to Africa and let them fight where there was more space. I was twelve by then and Fritz was just fourteen. I was still a child, but Fritz was growing up fast. He had begun to take an interest in other girls, older girls. I have to admit I was jealous. We had always been best mates and nothing had changed in our relationship, but I was forever catching him looking all gooey-eyed at teenage girls and even grown up women. He was particularly fixated with breasts. I put up with it for a while, but when I found him looking dreamily at my mother’s chest while she was hanging her knickers on the line I felt I had to say something. I mean, my mother is a very good looking woman for her age, and I was used to men fawning over her, especially our half-hour-uncles, but Fritz wasn’t like other males, he was my mate. I began to get worried that he might want to join my mum and play her parlour games in the back room.
One very warm, summer afternoon, I came back from an errand to find him, Tin Ribs and Fat Ernie crouched down behind our garden wall looking through the gaps where the mortar had fallen out. Fat Ernie was rubbing away at his front of his trousers. I crept up behind them and craned my neck to see what they were gawping at, but all I could see was mum stretched out on a blanket doing a bit of sunbathing with my big sister, Josie. Mum was wearing her usual black brassiere and faded blue bloomers, her girdle lay on the floor alongside. Josie was wearing a short, fawn coloured slip. They had rigged up a temporary screen on the one side they could be overlooked, by pegging a tatty old blanket on the washing line. They had obviously forgotten that people could look over the back wall if they wanted to.
Fat Ernie was sweating like a pig, and sounding like one. I had never heard anyone grunt like that in my life, even when we sang Old MacDonald’s Farm at school. Continue reading

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