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Dougie Milburn's account of his first air raid

Well, the first raid that occurred when I returned from evacuation I was shaking like a leaf. I heard the sirens blow; I jumped out of bed and went into the cellar that I was talking about before. And I felt embarrassed, I was visibly shaking. But the two girls, who lived next door, who had arrived home before me, they were as cool as a cucumber; both of them. I thought well if they can be like that so can I and I didn’t feel nervous anymore.

The Interviewer asks Dougie something in the background.

Yes. There was a certain time structure. I can’t actually remember what it was now, but if a raid progressed well into the early morning you weren’t expected in school till about ten o’clock; half-past ten or something like that.

We were just young; we used to make a party of it. But, I remember once we took to our shelters because it was a daylight raid and all these German bombers came over. They would be Heinkel 111s as they were the nearest thing they had to a heavy bomber. The Germans boobed in more ways than one because they weren’t as prepared for war as they should have been. They had no heavy bombers; they had no four engine bombers. They had what was called a tactical airforce but not a strategic airforce. And these Heinkels came over and nothing happened and it turned out later that they were going up to Scotland to bomb, I don’t know where, probably Glasgow. That was a long journey for them. Now of course, if they had a long journey they would have to carry more fuel and with the extra weight would have to reduce bomb load. So, the bomb load of Heinkel 111 was 4400lbs. So, that would have to be reduced to take on the extra fuel to get where they were going.

With gracious thanks to Dougie Milburn for providing these inciteful memories of World War II

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