A German bomb & de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School

October 4th 1940

Bomb damage at Blakemere Road
Sarah trained to work for de Havilland's aerodynamics department

Sarah came to live in WGC in 1930 with her parents & sister. Her father got the job of accountant for Murphy Radio and the family moved into Blakemere Road.

The interview was recorded in November 2010 as part of the Where Do You Think You Live? project run by the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust.

The audio clip covers a significant date – October 4th 1940 when the family’s house was hit by a German bomb.

Sarah was only five when she first came to the town. “I went to school at Parkway Junior which is now up for sale, and the Headmistress was a Miss Coe. A very good head and after that you went to Handside School which is now Applecroft and that was the senior school but I didn’t go there because I went to boarding school in Hitchin and that was before the War…”

Sarah wanted to go to London University “but they evacuated down to Wales because London was getting badly bombed and my mother didn’t really want me to go down to Wales with the college.

Then I got a chance to go to the de Havilland Aeronautical school – because the Headmaster, who was a Scotsman, knew the Head of the de Havilland technical college – Squadron Leader Reeves and I happened to be reasonably good at maths and loved aircraft and I had an interview with Sq Ldr Reeves and he said “Well why not come to Salisbury Hall?” because they had the school at Salisbury Hall and they also had an apprenticeship school for building, for practical work as well. So I went there but the idea was that I would start in the Drawing Office, learning all that side of it, which I did at the technical college and then they wanted somebody for the aerodynamics department so there were a certain number of people put forward for it and we had to sit an exam and I did that and I went into the Aerodynamics…

When I went there on the first day they thought I was going to make the tea and I put them right on that. I said “I don’t mind making tea as long as everybody else takes their turn!” And of course you can imagine all these men who thought they were God Almighty – so we got that sorted. I was there for quite a while. It was hard work because I still wasn’t all that old and we only got one week’s holiday a year – yes one week – we worked every second Saturday – all day until 5.30pm and the Saturday in between we still worked – we worked until 1pm.”

This page was added on 08/08/2011.

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