Hazel Richardson

Ms. Richardson was a 12-year-old school girl living in London when war was declared in 1939. Armed only with a gas mask and a packet of sandwiches, she joined other children evacuated to safety in the north of England. By mid-1940, Ms. Richardson returned to her family in London; just a few months later, the large scale air attacks of the Battle of Britain ensued. She recalls: ‘During one of the lulls in the bombing, my father called me to come up from the bomb shelter. I will never forget the sight. The houses were down around us. Our neighbor’s house, while it was still standing, had flames coming out of every window and door. Each flame had a point to it, like a child’s drawing, and it crackled loudly. We knew that the sisters who lived there always sheltered under the stairs during a raid. I didn’t look again.’

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