Residents Share Stories for D-Day 75th Anniversary
Residents from across Rapport Housing & Care’s homes have shared their memories of WW2 and in particular, the 5th June, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
“When you’re a teenager, to be honest it’s all quite exciting. You never think you’re going to die; it’s always going to be someone else.” Says Bob Miles, a resident of Drewery House in Wigmore. “I was in the Royal Navy as part of the Forward Observation Bombardment Unit, also known as the FOBs. Along with one other, I landed on Gold Beach on the morning of 5th June, I was frightened as we headed off in our jeep looking for a base ashore.”
Lawson House Larkfield resident, Joy Brown, signed up for the Women’s Royal Naval Service, also known as the Wrens at Chatham Dockyard aged 17. “Our job was to supply the ships, mostly with food and clothing for the soldiers. The ships would come in and we’d give them what they needed; the soldiers mostly loaded them, but we would go on board to check they had all they needed. To get on board, we had to climb a very thin rope ladder, which was very high and daunting! In the run up to D-Day, everything was very secretive, no questions were asked. We loaded the boats but had no idea what it was for, or where it would be going.”
Rogers House resident, Bill Baker, worked for Short Brothers during WW2 at their Rochester factory. “I didn’t get called up to serve because I was already working in a reserved occupation, working in the tool room for Short Brothers. . I remember the first night the Germans flew their planes overhead, my colleague and I watched them fly over all night. We used to watch the doodlebugs dropping from the sky, sometimes there were so many in one day.
I remember D-Day clearly. I was working as an apprentice, I used to work nights then and we heard all the planes going over, hundreds of them. There were so many that we did wonder what was going on. When I got home, I called my fiancée and asked if she’d heard them all too, she said she had.”
“During the war, we used to make nighties and knickers out of the fallen parachutes!” says Pat Bridge, resident of Drewery House. “They were beautiful and lasted such a long time. The cotton wore out before the nylon! When the war broke out, I was a teenager. I worked in a nursery, looking after children, as during the war everyone had to work, so we looked after all the little ones whilst their mothers went to out to work. I can remember VE Day clearly, we had such a celebration and there were street parties everywhere.”
Left, Joy was in the Wrens. Right, Bill and a colleague at work.