"We Remember" Booklet 2006
IN WORLD WAR II DOVER
school, St Bartholomew’s, was evacuated to Monmouthshire. One
thing was missing – me. I was five then and I
stayed in Dover throughout the
war, as did my wife-to-be, Doreen. There were 800 children not
evacuated. A national
called us the “Cave Kids”. Schools opened when they could, but
as I often say, “Oh, What a Lovely War … I Had” because I was
too young to go!
Well over two thousands shells
hit Dover. Four landed on houses just off Castle Street. I
always remember going into one and seeing the elegant furniture
and curtains. Once a junk shop was wrecked and my friend Freddy
and I found a topi (tropical hat) and an African spear. The
spear was taller than me. It was too big to handle and I
couldn’t throw it so I stripped the iron head from the wooden
shaft and made a nice large knife. We both wore the hat for a
long time and when we got fed up with it we stripped it down and
I always remember the yards of material we got from the binding.
Another shell landed close to a sweet shop near Snargate Street.
Freddy and I found a broken jar of sweets.
Off we ran and when it was safe we tasted them. We hadn’t had
sweets for some time. They were covered in dust but they were
saddest day of my young life was Wednesday 13 September 1944. My
best friend was retuning from London, having spent a few days on
holiday with his sister getting away from the shelling. The time
was 16:03 and he had just stepped off the train at Dover Priory.
At that moment a shell landed on the station. His sister was
totally unharmed but he was blown to bits. His age was nine. His
name was Frederick Ernest George Spinner but to me he was just
“Freddy”, my best school
mate. All my life not a week goes by but I remember him. It’s
over sixty years now.
This year I made contact with
the Dover War Memorial Project. I was surprised to learn from
Marilyn Stephenson-Knight that Freddy had in fact been buried,
in St Mary’s cemetery. In June I visited Dover,
and at last I stood by his
John Cork as a young child
Sheltering in Winchelsea Cave: in top bunk Vera Ealden, now
Wright, sister of WWII casualty Walter Ealden (see
"We Remember" 1)
Snargate Street, Dover, bombed