Wartime Memories of Ted Woodruffe-Peacock
Thankyou for taking part in this interview Mr Woodruffe-Peacock. Can you tell us where and when were you born?
I was born in Blackpool Lancashire on December 7th, 1936.
Tell me about your parents. What did they do?
My father was an RSPCA Inspector and my mother was a specialist fever nurse.
Did your father serve in the First World War?
Did you have any brothers and sisters?
A younger brother who was born on March 21st, 1940.
What was it like growing up?
I had an enjoyable childhood in a quiet village next to open countryside. I felt safe and secure.
What were your childhood interests?
I liked walking and exploring on my Uncles farm. My Uncle and Aunty were distant relations but known to us as Uncle and Aunty.
Can you remember the build up or outbreak of war?
No, I do remember my father moved the family from Clapham to Ruislip in the summer of 1940 prior to his joining the Royal Signals. He was in the Signals from 1940-1945.
Where did he serve?
Iraq, India and Burma.
Did any of your family join the Home Guard?
No, my mother with a young baby became an infant teacher in the village school.
What was the camaraderie in your community like?
It was a small village and had a very kind, helpful and friendly community.
What were your day to day living conditions like?
My mother rented a small cottage in the village whilst my dad was away.
Can you describe a typical day on the home front?
My uncle had a large farm in the village so we spent a lot of the time there.
What was the food like?
The food was basic but good, lots of sharing of fruit and vegetables. Milk and eggs from the farm and we sometimes got chicken or pork from the village pigs.
Did you get enough to drink?
Yes, we got water from a pump outside and also collected milk each day from another dairy farm in the village.
Can you remember any particularly funny incidents?
I was told by my Uncle when we saw a bull mating with a cow that that was how babies were made. I ran home and told my mother babies were made in cows!
Can you remember any particularly tragic incidents?
A Polish bomber that was on fire crash landed outside the village and the crew were killed. The next day the village children went to the site to collect the Perspex because the older boys carved it into rings.
What was the worst thing that happened to you?
A German bomber dropped 2 bombs on the village. One exploded but one didn’t. We children went up to look at the round hole but there was a guard to keep the public away. It exploded later but nobody was injured.
Where were you when the war ended?
What can you remember about it?
There was a bonfire and sparklers but no fireworks.
Do you have any other memories of the war?
There was an RAF training airfield next to the village and I saw a lot of Wellington bombers and the RAF men used to frequent the village pub.
Do you often think about the war?
I am interested in history but at the time I was too young to understand its importance. I remember hearing on the radio the final attack on Berlin.
Thankyou for taking the time to answer the questions.