Newsletter 28
Autumn 2010
Updated on 30Oct2010
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

Book Reviews
DH Heritage Centre
Experimental Department
Hawker Formations
Hunter News
New Technologies
Programme For 2010
PWS 'George' Bulman
Sea Harrier News
Sir Sydney And I
Sopwith News
Two-Seat Fury
Wartime Memories

    Doug Halloway continues remembering life in the early 1940s…
    I was working all hours at Slough with a long coach ride each way, every day. There were some nice girls in my section and occasionally some of us would meet at Waterloo Station for a meal at Lyons Corner House and then a full programme at the cinema - two films, news, cartoons and the organ interval. Afterwards back to Waterloo Station; the girls to Slough, we to Kingston. Any raids were ignored but fortunately no bombs fell near us.
    However, I got caught in London on 29th December 1940 in one of the heaviest raids at that time. My brother and I had been to Hull to stay with our parents for Christmas and returned to King's Cross at 5.30 pm. As we got off the train the air raid warning sirens started. Nobody wanted to go through the ticket barrier so we jumped down onto the rails, climbed onto the next platform, which was empty, and ran along to get down the 'tube' for Waterloo. The underground station platforms were already being filled with people who were sleeping there so we could only get as far as the Haymarket.
Wartime Memories

    The raid was in full progress with bombs falling mainly in the docks area. The large shutters on the shop windows were moving quite a bit when a bomb was a bit close. We set off across Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall to Big Ben. The underground station opposite was closed so we walked across Westminster Bridge. On the other side of the river a building had been hit and was burning fiercely and practically blocking the road. We were going to attempt to get by but a policeman stopped us and asked where we trying to get to. We told him Waterloo but he said the station had been hit and no trains were running, so we turned back across Westminster Bridge and headed for Victoria Station. As we looked towards Tower Bridge we could see buildings further away all ablaze and barrage balloons were clearly visible above the flames. We didn't see anyone else, only the occasional taxi towing an auxiliary fire pump. Here and there the top floors of buildings were on fire from incendiary bombs but there were no fire services dealing with them.
    When we got to Victoria there were no trains or trams running. It was now about midnight and at last we saw bus going to Clapham Junction and got on. The station was crowded but we were told that a train to Kingston would leave at about 1.30 am; and amazingly it did. We got back to Canbury Avenue to find that a bomb had demolished some houses two streets away. Such was life during the war but thankfully it was not always so hectic.
    Back at Slough Hawkers was visited by fighter pilots who came to thank us for the Hurricanes. One chap had a hook for a hand but was still flying. They looked very smart in their uniforms with wings; that was for me, so when I was old enough I volunteered for RAF aircrew. I sat exams and had a medical at Oxford University and was very disappointed when I failed the medical; so back to Slough for me. I the volunteered for the Navy and passed the medical but the manager at Slough, Tom Bray, wouldn't release me.
    We were still working lots of overtime with alternate months on night shift. (An elderly man on my section had been a pilot in the first World War). I used to see that everyone had jobs and then sometimes had a kip in my office. Occasionally we had a dance at the Good Companions pub which was very good. ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) played sometimes at lunch time, mostly classical music which was not appreciated by some. One evening we had a big show at Langley with Tommy Trinder and Cyril Fletcher.
    The build-up for D-Day started at the end of 1942 which gave me the opportunity to join the Forces, volunteering for the duration of the war. I was in REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) for four and a half years from March 1943, a very different life from that at Hawkers in Slough.