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From the age of 12 , myself and other schoolchildren had to travel to our nearest grammar school , some miles away at Faversham in Kent, many of us hailing from along the south east coastal towns.

On warm summer days we girls would open the train windows of our carriage and the beautiful blossom perfumes and the fresh country air would breeze gently in.

However we chattering and laughing schoolgirls didnít really notice the lovely scents of the countryside.

In 1939, after leaving school, I enlisted in the WAAF, travelling during the war on rail journeys to and from my various postings.

One evening in the summer of 1942, I happened to get caught in a very bad raid in London, near Waterloo Station, as I tried to get from Waterloo to Victoria Station to catch a train home.

Eventually after being slightly hurt in a bomb blast, I spent the night in the underground station, along with many other civilian and service personnel.

All trains had been stopped for some hours, both above and below.

The following morning a few trains did eventually get away down the lines, mine being one of them.

Valiant efforts were made by all the wartime rail employees to ensure the trains kept running, as it was such a vital system then.

As soon as I was safely on board the train I closed my eyes for what seemed like the first time in ages.

There was blood on the torn sleeve of my uniform jacket, my stocking were holed and laddered from splintered glass, my cap was lost, my hair and face felt hot and dusty and my mind was trying to shut away the nightís horrors

The carriage window must have been opened by someone sitting nearby and the early morning summer mists had slowly cleared.

It was warm and sunny and the air was scented as it came through the window.

Quite suddenly those aromas of my schooldays years before the war came flooding back again, bringing a sense of calm and peace, and somehow I knew that one day life would return to normal again, as it had been before this awful war began.


Submitted by MRS Nancy Lowther.

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