Air Raid Precautions (ARP) duties
I worked in my mother’s shop during the war, Barkers cooked meat and groceries, because it wasn’t called a delicatessen in those days. We cooked all our own meat: hams, beef, lamb, and pork.
At 18 years old I joined the ARP and if the sirens went, which they did every night (after the first lull in 1941), we used to go up to the Out-Patients at the hospital in case there were any casualties coming in and you’d see the searchlights looking for the bombers.
I was on ARP duty the Saturday morning when the bombs hit the Odeon and Bedford Street. I can remember seeing these poor little kids lying on the stretchers waiting to be seen in the Out-Patients Department, it was miserable and horrible that day. We just had to get them ready to be seen by the doctors. I don’t know that there was penicillin then, I don’t think there was, so it was a very hit and miss thing, we did our best but there were a lot of casualties.