Vera’s Life: Part Thirty-Two

This is the thirty-second part of a fiction serial, in 795 words.

The next month, some big raids started again. The Germans got through this time, and the sausage factory where Viv worked was hit. Luckily, it was during the night, so she wasn’t at work. But some of the workers on night shift were hurt when they didn’t get into the shelter in time. The bombing was all over the place again, not just in the centre, or the docks. Some areas in the suburbs got bombed for the first time ever, and nobody felt safe. Albert got a cut on the face from a falling roof tile, but he wouldn’t go anywhere to get it looked at, as he said so many were worse off than him. Elsie cleaned it up for him, and tore up an old pillowcase to make a bandage. Vera hated being back in the Anderson shelter, but by then she knew it had been a good idea when her dad built it.

After that, there were no raids. By early summer, Vera was happily sleeping in her own bed again, though she was increasingly concerned about the fact that she hadn’t heard anything from Les in reply to her letters. Albert knew she was worried, and tried to explain things to her. “Listen love, he’s in Germany, ain’t he? Well the Russians are getting close, and the Germans are losing all over. On top of that, the Yanks and the RAF are bombing the hell out of Germany every single day and night. So you can’t expect those Red Cross people to manage to get through to collect or deliver letters now, can you?” She knew her dad was right. News of the bombing of Germany was always in the papers and on the newsreels. They had certainly had a pasting.

But that only made her worry in case the POW camp got bombed by our own side.

There was news of something very big. After keeping it secret for a very long time, the army and the Americans had landed in France. According to the radio, it was a big surprise for the Germans, as they didn’t land near Calais, and had gone to Normandy instead. Vera was shocked at the news, but it lifted her spirits to imagine that Les might be free before the end of the year. Albert was having his say as usual, not even waiting for the announcer to finish. “That showed ’em. And those collaborating Frenchies too. Went in through the back door, down near Caen. Those bloomin’ Jerries weren’t expecting that, were they?”

Elsie was less impressed. “Well there’s still a lot of Germans in France, Bert, and in Germany too. Then there’s the Japs to deal with. Don’t you go counting your chickens too soon, Albert Dodds”. As more news was released, the scale of the invasion was hard for Vera to comprehend. So many soldiers, so many ships, and paratroops too. It seemed to her that the army might be in Paris by the end of the month. It was very hard not to get her hopes up about Les, but that was tinged with concern for Teddy, in case his ship was involved. Then her mum was all doom and gloom. “What about Viv’s Roy? You can bet yer life his Commandos would have been in on that landing. Probably in the first couple of boats. Oh gawd, I do hope nothing happens to him. Poor Viv and the boys”.

The next day, there was the sound of an air raid siren, followed not long after by one almighty explosion on the other side of the Thames. Everyone in the jam factory was heading down to the shelters when they heard it. But before they got there, the all-clear sounded, and they went back up to the machines. Ten minutes later, another warning had them back in the shelter, where they heard half a dozen more big bangs, and the sound of low-flying aircraft firing machine guns. It was a tiring day, back and forth, and nobody understood why they couldn’t hear the bombers.

When Albert got home, he had the answer, as he had left work to help out as a Warden. “It’s a new thing those Jerries have got. Like a small plane, but with no pilot. It’s like a big rocket, and just drops out of the sky anywhere. More or less a flying bomb, as it isn’t designed to go back to where it came from. They reckon a few people got killed in Canning Town earlier, and some of our boys were out in fighters tryng to shoot the things down over the river”. Elsie was getting dinner ready, and turned from the sink.

“Flying bombs indeed. Whatever will they think of next?”

42 thoughts on “Vera’s Life: Part Thirty-Two

  1. There is a V2 museum close by to us, although its more of a rocket in a field surrounded by a fence than a fully fledged museum. I must check, but it they were launching them from Poland then that’s one hell of a long range.
    Looking at them you could well imagine that they were manufactured this centaury, not close to 80 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) Vivian was a bit upset to learn that she had missed the panty raids at the sausage factory.
    (2) Bad citation: “By early summer, Vera was happily sleeping in her own bed again, though she was increasingly concerned about the fact that she no longer had a pillowcase. It had been torn up for use as a bandage.”
    (3) Doramad Radioactive Toothpaste, produced from 1940 to 1945 in Germany, contained small amounts of thorium. In the battle against cavities, German teeth certainly had a pasting.
    (4) “Went in through the back door, down near Caen.” The French still talk about the “Caen-séquences” of the D-Day landing.
    (5) Overheard: “As for those bloomin’ Jerries? Well, pluck them!”
    (6) It’s a lot easier to count your chickens than to count your rabbits.
    (7) Vera found it hard to comprehend the scale of the invasion. So George and Eddie gave her some 1:32 scale soldiers to play with, and then sent her down to the Thames to conduct the reenactment.
    (8) “It was a tiring day, back and forth, and nobody understood why they couldn’t hear the bombers.” Some of the workers put empty jam jars over their ears in hopes that would somehow amplify the sound.

    Note: The French Resistance played a role in D-Day. Aside from gathering intelligence in response to coded messages from the BBC, “1,000 sabotages were carried out by the resistance from June 5 to 6, 1944. The risks incurred by the resisters during these actions were particularly high: a large number of them had very little military knowledge, and they opposed a trained, seasoned and better equipped army.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The later V2 was much worse, as it could not be seen or heard until it landed, and carried much more explosive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-weapons
      The V1 was known in England as the ‘Doodlebug’, and made a distinct sound from its pulse-jet engine that was often described as sounding like a misfiring motorcycle.. There will be more about the rocket attacks in the next episode.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad to know there’s lots more of this series still to come. Your comment about the Americans taking some of the German scientists back to America to work for them reminded me of a book a I read a few months ago called Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees. It was about how various countries and their different intelligence agencies were competing to capture military leaders – Edith is recruited as a spy to help track down a Nazi scientist guilty of war crimes. She believes so that he will stand trial but realises that’s not necessarily the outcome the intelligence agencies want. I found it a very disturbing book, not least because our government would turn a blind eye to war crimes if it meant getting someone who brain they could pick.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. At least i think this was not a very good idea, even they got the knowledge for their space missions too. But a lot of things got not to be enlightened, and thousands of people by the Nazis forced to slave labour never got reparations. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

    1. After the war, the Americans took the rocket inventors home to help with the space programme, and weapons systems. One of those things I suppose we wished we had invented first!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.