Speaker So I just started by asking, where exactly is this room located that you're in?

Speaker This is down in the actual shelter itself, down underneath. This is the main room where we all connected. As you can see, there's a radio in it. There's also all the people and they're having their cups of tea, which the nuns brought, which is why the nuns are in the picture. And they then you went out through the door behind, which is my father at the back, standing right at the back.

Speaker And there was a door and went out and he went down a passage and then there was separate paces with shelters and each one had bunks, which were three deep.

Speaker And we all slept in different ones. We all have our own bunks that we went to. We took our big clothes over every night, didn't want us to use to take care of you. She tried to drop them if we managed it.

Speaker And we was in the very end one which was right under the front of the church where the actual bomb it came in.

Speaker Well, tell us about where you are. Yes, yes, yes. Anthony will hear my voice. Yes. The story of the bomb hitting the church.

Speaker Well, there was a bad ride. We had several been all the time. And this was a really bad ride.

Speaker And it was about 11 o'clock at night coming up for 11 o'clock at night. And there had been a whole load of bombs had been dropped all the way around us.

Speaker And then we heard this bang didn't we didn't actually hear the bomb. No, no. That time we never heard a sound.

Speaker But usually you hear them heard them coming down. They whistled as they come down. A different sounding like that. But this one we didn't hear. All we heard was that when it actually.

Speaker When it's loaded and then right in the corner where by the bunk beds, wasn't it right over in the far corner, we started to get a trickle of water and we couldn't make out why we were getting water. And then somebody came down and said, the church is gone. The church is gone. And they said, well, perhaps that is where the water's coming from. So they came up and found the radiator had been damaged. So they turned all the water off and that stopped the water coming down onto us anymore. But other than that, we were perfectly safe under the you mentioned.

Speaker Yeah. Heard everything. So I think it might be.

Speaker OK, so tell us tell you you have told me outside the reason that you were saved. Say something about the altar.

Speaker Well, in the in the church we had the main altar was quite large. It had white pillars with a white sort of canopy on the top. And what they reckoned was that as the bomb came in, it hit the top of the. Actual alter itself and blow, if it hadn't hit that alter, it could come straight through the floor to us because it was only just below the floor. But when we came up in the morning, it was totally devastated. The church, because the church, there was no pews left, was on the front.

Speaker It was all the front. The back wasn't too bad.

Speaker No, but the organ is still here now and that was all damaged. And there was balconies on both sides and they were hanging down. But the font. As you look at what stood in front of the church totally appeared untouched and it is signed today and it is the same now.

Speaker What is there on the back?

Speaker And our mother, as well as all of us, were all christened in that I'm our children. So it's been there some time. But the church itself, as I say, was quite devastated. And did you.

Speaker Margaret.

Speaker So tell us about what's going on in these pictures of the church.

Speaker Well, the Father Huch, which was the priest, his name is Father Hutchinson. We all called him at. He decided that we would all get together and have one service in the church because it was bombed in December, so the weather with no roof and everything else put it off. And this was just after Easter time or was Easter was not OK this time, was it with nature? Yeah. Anyway, he decided he'd have this service, so we all sat through and cleaned up the church as best we could and made it as safe as possible. And then people gave chairs and we sorted ourselves out and he held one service because the church wasn't really dedicated to such, because once it had been damaged, it had to be rededicated. So we held the one service in there. But all the other services were held in the crypt. They built a chapel in the crypt and we were down there.

Speaker Are you in these pictures? Yes, in the bottom one or on the left hand side? On the right hand page with three in the front. That's me with my feet ahead of me. And I'm like you said, that's where are you at? I've got my head on my hands there at the bottom. This one, the one. And next to that is my mother. And this side is just the one with the hat on. She's got the actual looks like at least it was a nice day. Yes, it was. That was why it worked out. And then and then done the flowers and things didn't like that. That's the eldest sister.

Speaker And how does it feel to to be looking? I know you have the books. It's not that new. But to be looking at those pictures and being in this church, what is it?

Speaker What does it feel for you, what now? Yes.

Speaker It feels strange because for one thing, it's very modern where it wasn't then and. I don't know. To us, it doesn't seem like a church anymore. That is very difficult. So are you glad to have these pictures, even though. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yes, because we was. I mean, we moved opposite when I was one year old, and from then on we came to this church, we came here to Sunday school, we came here for everything. And we used to sing here and we used to do in playing the plays here. And it was. Well, our focal point, if you like. We well ran the church, didn't we? And when you look at it now, it's just not the sun, not the same. Not the same at all.

Speaker Let's go. But let's go back to page forty six, because that was when you were starting to say who was who in the picture.

Speaker And forty seven, actually, in the bill, you were telling us where you are and then John after she that maybe you could say which one you are, I'm right in the front, but you can only see about half of me.

Speaker I'm just by one of you could see when I'm half a bull, I'm turning man. So you can see my face, my head. And my mom is pouring the tea out just in front of me, and then just behind Mum's head is our brother.

Speaker And the man with his back to us.

Speaker We don't really know who that man was. Is your father in the picture?

Speaker Yes, he's at the bar. He's right at the back, almost at the back of the door.

Speaker The mom's trying to say that what you look like you're having a lot of fun here.

Speaker Oh, we did. I mean, I know it sounds very silly.

Speaker And people listen to you and they say, well, war was on and he was in a shelter, but we did have fun. We enjoyed ourselves. And although the war was over and we did enjoy it, didn't we? It was a get together. Yeah.

Speaker Let's look at the cover that you showed me earlier, and maybe you could hold it up and tell us who the people are there and all the ones that. Can you get in a little bit? Do you want it on?

Speaker OK, I read it. OK, that's nice.

Speaker So can you actually, if you can put it down and then raise it up again and put it go ahead, put it down on your left and then just raise it up and tell us and show the camera and then tell us what is.

Speaker This is the book that was done by, um, but that took the photos and Diana Forbes' Robinson, who wrote the story, became they practically lived with this on and off. And this is a mother and her father.

Speaker And the title is The Battle of Waterloo Road, and when they came over to see about doing this, they went to the V.A., which was Father Huch, and he suggested our family. And they came and asked mom and dad and they said, yes, they do it. And so we had them with us a lot of the time.

Speaker Munchy, we why do you think they would have chosen your family? You think you can put the book back? Yes, we had.

Speaker All right. Yes, we had. We think we're not 100 percent sure because after all, we wasn't that old.

Speaker But we think it was because mom and dad used to do a lot with the church, used to do a lot of the church, which is our oldest sister.

Speaker Our brother was in the choir. We was always there being a nuisance and.

Speaker We had my grandmother live local and they belonged to the church and also my aunt, some of my aunts and uncles lived and, you know, so relations are so very they were so christened and they were all like, yeah, oh, my God, those girls know when I when Catholics here will tell you, we used to watch it. And if we thought we see him going about to take photos, he was off lights and he used to tell us of the news. So every time I go to take a photo, you go on your own. But we did that that process. And why did you hide? You were teasing him, are you. Oh, chasing him. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Speaker Now, there's a picture I think taken of that. Yeah, I made a picture. Well, you don't need, you know, the pictures. Yeah. Look at it.

Speaker But that was that was leaning out of the window isn't it. That is me.

Speaker And the reason I was doing it was I was trying to get the cartoon because the two nights before dark before wasn't it.

Speaker The cartoon got blown over with when the bomb landed out the back way and blown them in one way and then blown the other way. One had gone the other way and blew the other way and the cat went flying. So he said, I don't know whether the cat's hurt and it wouldn't come in. So we'd been trying to go in, didn't we?

Speaker And there's a high wall you couldn't actually get it from.

Speaker You couldn't get it.

Speaker So I was calling it I'm Coppo came out into the backyard because it's only a yard we had here just for the train.

Speaker This is such a great story. Sounds great. I love it. OK, let's keep rolling. OK, so.

Speaker OK, so let's go back just a little ways. So so you're leaning out the window to get.

Speaker Yeah, Dad said, why don't we try and get the cat? So we both tried, evidently, and I was leaning out that window and calling in the cat and Kapper went out into the yard to take this picture. And I immediately dived in. I went and moved away and I heard him come back in and go down because from the backyard, the steps down to where the kitchen was, where mom and dad were down there with them. So as soon as I heard him going, I went back out again and I was leaning out there and he came out and I so I went to go in and he went straight across the yard because our toilet was outside. So you went across to the yard and into the toilet. So I thought, oh, that's all right. And carried on calling the cat. And with that, he shot out the toilet. But the thing already and took this picture before I even had a chance to put my head back in. So that was how that picture came to be taken.

Speaker Spring, it sounds like he was really playful with you. Oh, yeah.

Speaker It was wasn't like it used to chat a lot to Nance Nance. And he used to chit chat a lot, didn't they. But as to I think we tormented him a bit. He told me once that my eyes were full of mischief. He said, your eyes are totally full of mischief. And what are you up to now? Didn't he? So I thought Mr..

Speaker No, no, you wouldn't say so, but, you know, you.

Speaker Where were you during. You remember cap on the House floor?

Speaker Oh, yes, I was around and in the pictures in the book where my mom went shopping. I was actually with mom when she went shopping all around the different stores in that.

Speaker What was it like to go shopping habits really around up there with a camera?

Speaker Well, I thought it was fun. I mean, the thing was that to have somebody taking your photo and that it was.

Speaker Can't really explain what it felt like, but it was it was good, so it wasn't that you couldn't say no, you didn't notice him, but you knew he was you know, he was there. But you never you know what I mean? It wasn't sort of up your nose. I think he was he was there, let's say, with me.

Speaker I think where I was that. The age that was and let's say I felt as though I acted up to it, you know, whereas say Leo would be. Mischievous and normal and just carry on normal, I would as if I was the actress, you know what I mean? That is the way I feel about it then. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Being that age that I was at the time and.

Speaker So, Howard, how did he.

Speaker Well, you could just tell the story of, OK, arrives at your door. How did your parents respond to somebody saying they were going to be in your house taking your pictures of your lives for I don't know what it was a couple of weeks or whatever? What was it like to have another person in your house and how did you.

Speaker Well, Mum's always said she hated it, didn't she? And when we had the book, she kept it hidden more or less, didn't she? But that is the way, but I think at the time, she was quite. Pleased that we were to pick that she'd been picked out of all the people in Waterloo. But but that is the way she always said that she didn't like it at all. And your dad enjoyed it.

Speaker He was quite happy and I just wish that wasn't it.

Speaker Yeah, dad was more outgoing and especially where they've got the photos of him up his allotment. I mean, is allotment was. That had and he was full of it and he was pleased to have somebody out there taking these photos of actually doing his allotment.

Speaker You know, what is an award?

Speaker I don't think people would say, oh, well, during the war, they took the parks, you know, like parks, you say. But they were all dug up and put into little so well, not little squares, but it's long line five. What they five.

Speaker I don't know what they're five for, but if they were long and then everybody was allowed to have one, two or whatever, these allotments as I called them, and they grow the vegetables. And they did grow some flowers, they weren't supposed to grow flowers, but you could, but they grew all the vegetables.

Speaker And he used to go out there every time when he wasn't on duty because he was in the place on the underground and every time he was off duty, so he was up the allotment and so were we.

Speaker If we got nabbed him and he wasn't a Londoner, he was back in the country where he was born on the countryside and he left his allotment. That's really nice. And he had some lovely veggies and such like from there, didn't they?

Speaker And how did you feel about having this?

Speaker First of all, do you remember when you first saw when you first saw your first impressions of him, what he was like?

Speaker Kapa mother, I can't really say we we were told that somebody was coming. And of course, we didn't really talk much to Mr. Sharon, that's Gene Robinson, by the way. She to us, she was Mr. Sharon. We didn't really talk to her that much.

Speaker Did we know it was more the older people she spoke to, the older ones, the older people of the family and.

Speaker But as I say, I mean, he he just arrived and he used to take photos and we didn't really take a lot. And I just the way it was, it was dark.

Speaker He was very dark. Yeah, well, in those days, he was taller than what we would say now. Handsome.

Speaker I thought so. But then again.

Speaker He made that impression on. You didn't think he was good looking?

Speaker No, I wouldn't say that. But it. You know how a.

Speaker Where she would say, oh, yes, he was handsome. Well, I wouldn't use that word denotes I know we look great, but you would say he was good looking.

Speaker And so, yeah, I just found him some laundry. No, no. But somebody who I liked have a bit of fun about that. Sounds I don't mean not nastily either. I mean that. I think because he was so quiet. He was tended to be in the background and he was quiet. He didn't say a lot. So consequently, you felt the. I felt that I had to sort of.

Speaker Go back to the word.

Speaker How did you go to.

Speaker Well, as I said, if we see him in the corner, which is right in the corner, or do whatever reason why, but, you know, the thing was that he could be there, take photos and you didn't know he was there because he did.

Speaker Because he sounded and he sort of fitted in the background. He didn't. He didn't you didn't sort of stand and see him standing there going, I'll take your picture. He he didn't he would take a picture and you'd think, oh.

Speaker Did he have his meals with you? No, no.

Speaker Now, there's a story I was thinking of when you're talking about the allotment and again, the audience won't hear me. So if this is something that you know about, let me tell it. But I heard that your father would send him back to the Dorchester Hotel with vegetables. Do you think that that would get good food there? And maybe you could tell that story? I love it.

Speaker Yeah, well, they they were at the hotel and my father used to work at the hotel at one stage as the security they would call it today, and those days they called him a watchman, didn't they? And he used to go there and he said they make beautiful cakes, but he didn't think so much of their vegetables. So he used to do them up tomatoes and things and send them back off with them. And whether they ever hit them or what, they don't want them, we don't know.

Speaker But they get that if he thought they needed a few vegetables, he'd get them.

Speaker And we're a bunch of animals we're giving them. What were they? What was he growing?

Speaker Oh, everything. Benos, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, beetroot with Franco.

Speaker Gone. OK.

Speaker So, again, what were what were the vegetables, the beans, potatoes, cucumbers, marrows, onions, turnips, parsnips?

Speaker Leave until it's a female. They've got their. Yeah, carrots and that sort of thing, what he said, cabbages, cauliflowers, everything, because he learned he did land up with about four of these, not one. He had four. And so he had quite a bit of ground.

Speaker What I read was that he took the vegetables to the White House. You know, the way you come to the White Tower restaurant and given to the cook, I surprised really wouldn't be surprised.

Speaker Used to when he came back from the allotment, he always went in the pub and the east pint of beer, and that is where he used to sell some as well. In there. They used to wait for him to come in with his bag of goodies to sell because they they were so nice and fresh and they were very noble that they got more than we need.

Speaker Oh yeah.

Speaker I'd like us to just kind of look at some of the pictures in the book, are there any pictures that you are especially fond of or that remind you of a story that you'd like to tell or or like?

Speaker I'm looking at one right now on page twenty six. Twenty twenty seven, um, of your mother and father. Very expressive and also on page twenty five, there's one of your mother.

Speaker Yeah, and there's another one of. This one of that very happy that was typical dad up his allotment. I mean, a good laugh and a rest in between these digging and suchlike and more pensive looking out.

Speaker And that. Imagine she was worried that this.

Speaker No, she wasn't worried it was. No, she used to go the way the way she she liked going up there, but she didn't help that or to that extent because. She put her side she thought was cooking the vegetables, not growing them, put it that way. And I have to.

Speaker Yeah, yeah, yeah, well, also, dad got gassed in the First World War and so he had chest trouble and then he came back and went back into the police force after the First World War and used to be out. And all the folks in London doing the point Dutches they used to do.

Speaker And eventually when he finished his 25 years, it left him with a bad chest. When this war started, they couldn't take him back because his chest was so bad, which was why he worked on the underground. So when he was up the allotment and he'd been to work and then he went up the allotment and she used to go with him, she used to get a bit upset, thinking that perhaps he was overdoing it because he used to say, no, I'm fine and all of this. But she used to get a bit uptight. And I think that's why she looks like she does, because she go off with a watering can, fill it up with water and come staggering back with it. And she used to think, oh, is he all right? You know, and I think that's why those pictures look like that more than anything else, don't you?

Speaker And also, that would be the way Tapper would take a photo. It wouldn't just take a photo of you just standing there. It waits his chance and get his photo.

Speaker There's one in there that's taken with a grain in it. I don't know which page that's on. It's one with grain in it as well. The my mother's pulling a terrible voice. Must bend further back than that is. That's page forty 114.

Speaker Fourteen year old.

Speaker I think that telling the town that.

Speaker And which one your is grandma sat down, and that's my sister next to Aunt Flosse. And that means the telling of the story. It looks like it.

Speaker What kind of story would you tell? I also didn't like.

Speaker Jokes, yeah, no, it would be always be joke type things.

Speaker Now the picture just before it on page thirty nine.

Speaker We're having a Sunday lunch yet again, so I'm not interrupting, but sorry that no, I interrupted you, sir, but whose plane is that on this far right?

Speaker That is Tom's plane for him and her. Didn't finish that, Dennis. I was the littlest in the family and I used to sit there and wait and see how much they left and try to eat it, and I used to get told off, don't touch it until you've finished your own in case you don't finish your own. So that is sat there. He'd gone off to play football. So I was keeping an eye on that. No, no. But they were actually having some lunch there. There was a picture I had just lost to that one point seventy five, and all the children know then that they were just in the school wearing the one, um, what's that page?

Speaker Seventy six, seventy six and seventy seven.

Speaker Where are you at the top one on the right hand side? The very top the first one is Joseph Joseph Higgins. Then there's me, then there's Joan and then Katie Burns and Doris, short movies in a play, The French Revolution.

Speaker And we was what?

Speaker Equality, fraternity and whatever. So we're seeing it actually in that one. And it was singing Don't ask the Marseillaise, wasn't it? I don't know. It could have been England or something.

Speaker And the one next to it, the the one with the lady with a bit sonna. You see it in the next picture. That's Nunc, our older sister.

Speaker There was something to do with Joan of Arc it. Yeah, it was all to do with the French Revolution, Joan of Arc, which knows what it was, they mixed it all up. Didn't that probably happen?

Speaker Must have loved it. Oh, yeah. He had lived in Paris.

Speaker Yeah, that's it. Dude adored it. And like the stories we used to tell him about the Old Vic, because the Old Vic Vicha was the chaplain of the Old Vic, so they used to come up and help us with the Nativity plays before the war, didn't they. And they the actual people from the Old Vic, the you know, the the actors and actresses used to come out, Lilium, Baylis, she was down there and she used to be whatever. And we used to act with them so they would be in the play as well as us, and they would fetch the scenery down and we'd have. Outstanding scenery, because they fitted it all up from down there one year we had from the altar, which was high, they built this big stairway, didn't they, going up? And she developed chickenpox the day that it started. And we were the true angels. I had to dance across this stairway.

Speaker We knew we had long white gowns.

Speaker And of course, our hair was long and it was ginger. So it shone and they put all this gold stuff on it. And so we were just thrilled to bits with that. The purpose.

Speaker And we because she got the chickenpox, I had to do the double dance across this thing and she was most upset because she couldn't come. She said, I've only got a few spots. They won't show. They won't show, but they wouldn't let her come with that.

Speaker Now, I've heard that when I got to London, I think it was forty one that the blitz was mostly over and then not what was going on.

Speaker So I know you've got to do and told to say that on camera that it really was.

Speaker Very dangerous just to express how deep what it was like to be a target with these bombs falling when camera was there with you, when Copper came to do this book with Mrs. Shamma, the bomb wasn't anywhere near over. It eased off. It eased off a lot, but it wasn't over. We were still and we were still down the shelter every night. And we wouldn't have been down there if the bombing had stopped. And you would have a night where it eased and you would think, oh, yes, it's getting better, didn't we?

Speaker Not the night that said, oh, well, none of us to go to the shelter tonight. We're staying. And it was the worst night the bombing we ever had. We had to run across the road with lumps of shrapnel because of the railway line out the back that we went round before they used to run the guns up and down there on platforms and firing at the planes. So you had all the shrapnel from that coming down and the bombs. And when copper was here, Soci copper was here when the truck was damaged. He was here when those nuns were killed. He was here.

Speaker All the different bombs, really a load of them around here, wasn't he? Yeah, it hadn't finished. I mean, I heard somebody somebody said to us that they thought it finished and it happened and they used to go home. If he used to come over more often than she did in the evening and he would wander off out when he if there was something going on, would he go off out and take pictures outside besides being with us? But they couldn't get back under the bridge because they shot the tube because the tube had it, because it ran under the river. They put in doors so that the water couldn't come out if it had been damaged. Uncomparable floodgates. Yeah. And the gold and the and they used to shut them up. They shut them as soon as the riot started. So there was no way they could get back there. So he used to sometimes he walked over the bridge and went that way another time. If he had missed jam, whether they might get a cab and get them over the other side and then get onto the tube. But she came more during the day. And what he did as well, there wasn't so much bombing in the day at that time was the night time, but it was over night and he was always out there roaming about. You never knew. Where he'd gone off to if he heard something, the boys would, the night my brother and his friends would come in and say, oh, they've just dropped one somewhere, didn't they? And he was gone. Where's that? Away and took the pictures. And he was fearless.

Speaker I talk about Phyllis. I think he was careful.

Speaker In his own way, but I think that if it meant taking a. If he wants to take a picture, I mean, there's pictures in there taken, stood on the roof of. The Old Vic when it had been bombed. And there's actually a picture in this book of him standing on that roof and he's taken it and you can see Waterloo Station and everything from there, and the other one he took was in inside the place where the window had completely vanished on it.

Speaker And there's just a hole. And he started in the hole taking this picture. So, I mean, I wouldn't say he was fearless, but I would say that if he wanted to take a picture, he was able would do it regardless.

Speaker He would find it, would get that picture, put it that way.

Speaker Hmm.

Speaker And it must have been terrifying for you. Look, you as little girls with all these bombs falling around, wasn't it? Not really.

Speaker It's silly, it really is silly, isn't it?

Speaker Our families say to us these days, you know, it must have been awful during the war, but. No, we wouldn't say it was awful, I mean, all right, when you heard that and families that we knew had been killed or a block of flats of a shelter belonging to a block of flats had been hit. And all the people in them or you felt that no matter how old you was, you felt that all these people are being killed. But otherwise, you just went on as normal. You went out, you had the Gambo, you had the games in the playground, the school. You went to school. It was only sort of later on, perhaps when when the when the ones in the veto's came over, then that was different because you didn't know they were coming. I mean, once you heard but the veto's you didn't. So therefore they could come down any time. You could be standing. Sometimes you she was on Waterloo Station and you had a bump. You had no nothing before that until that actually exploded, but when the bombs was coming down, you heard them. And you heard the explosions, you heard them whistling coming, didn't you think of them coming? So therefore you sort of said, is that one sort of thing?

Speaker You know, usually if you heard it was so, you know, it wasn't and then you had the fire bombs because they weren't as incendiary bombs in Sandras. When did you come to one of those? Oh, Konkona. The street turn and had one that burnt out and one at the bottom of the street took the top of the railway off. There's a picture in the set of where. Where? The railway.

Speaker The street. Is it in the front in this? Do you see some of your childhood friends, you know, your friends?

Speaker Well, no, actually totally close to such, but some. When school friends and things like that, you know, school, we knew we knew school, I mean, there was one family that lived down the camp and there was eight children when the mother and father, they all went down to the shelter and the mother had forgotten something. So the father went back to get it.

Speaker And.

Speaker He never made it back to them, he he got hurt, but they were all killed, so he lost the whole of his family, eight children and his wife, and they were in the shelter and they were in a shelter. But what happened was that the shelter had disintegrated, but the gas leaked to the gas pipe had gone and they never got them out in time. So, you know, and that was the sort of thing.

Speaker And there's another one in here, isn't there? And he was the chap that was in the fire brigade and his parents got killed. And it is actually in the book about. And they found one of his parents, but they never found them. Never, ever found them. And they they were in there and shelter as it was. And then, yeah, maybe that's on page thirty eight or thirty nine of them. Is that 13.

Speaker OK, all right. So what do you think you're looking at there.

Speaker Well, I'm not 100 percent sure, but I believe that at the time it was the vicar, I'd been down to the house and when he was walking away from me, father always walk backwards.

Speaker To me, it sort of went backwards. Still, in a way, he was typical Italian like he and he waved his arms about Matney and he wrote it off and he he would walk backwards. And he always wore a long black surplice thing. And that used to wave in the breeze as he went. And that was what I reckon we were doing because we never see Cappa at all. He was there to take the photo. Must have been, but we must have been so interested in what was going on the other way that to be quite honest, we didn't even know it had been taken that on.

Speaker It's the same as the one I managed to catch us when we were playing ball, wasn't it? That one year. It's the same dress. Yeah. He's got the kind. Yeah, so she thought he was doing the same thing, but that was the only thing I could think because he used to do that and we would stood there like that. That would have been plenty watching what he was doing.

Speaker Didn't want to miss anything. Yeah. See what was going on, being like a shadow.

Speaker I'm not sure what you meant, but if you repeat that idea, well, not a shadow as such.

Speaker But, um, you never knew he was there. He was there in your mind you I suppose you knew he was there, but in another way, you didn't wasn't it very difficult, carried on as if he wasn't there sort of thing, though?

Speaker You knew he was there in one sense because you never knew in the background. So and he was ready there to take the pictures that he wanted to.

Speaker And he said, my question and just one right.

Speaker Oh, his accent. What about his accent? Was that funny? Do you remember it?

Speaker He had an accent, didn't he. Mm. But couldn't remember.

Speaker But as I say, he didn't actually talk to us to really that much. It was more lence, wasn't it?

Speaker I want to be honest, I just couldn't tell you what he spoke.

Speaker He did have an accent.

Speaker He did have an accent, but.

Speaker I don't think that he held a lot of conversations as such with us. He would say the odd thing. And we would hear him talking, but not it wasn't with us as such, because in those days, if you think about it, we were children.

Speaker We were classed as children and they were adults. How old were you again? I was 13. She was 10. So I mean, today, if you spoke to 13 year olds, I'd think, oh, you know, they're quite grown up. But we didn't. Did we know, um, we were on from then on during the war.

Speaker We grew up very fast.

Speaker So we had certainly sounds like you really had to look at that, you said something about a picture with a dog.

Speaker Oh, the one with the our dog is actually going.

Speaker The one on page 14. Is our street. That is where our house was and that is our dog going across the street and you can see where the the bomb damage and such like is being put up at the top of the on the railway line at the top.

Speaker Can you see the. That is where the incendiary came down and it came down, dropped on the floor and they threw sand bags on it, so that killed it. So we didn't have a fire that end. But on the other picture, at the top picture, if you come, if you could have come back further, that was where the place got burnt out on the top the whole lot when there was and also they had a one on in with a letter.

Speaker Is that an incendiary on their.

Speaker So was your house, your own house destroyed?

Speaker No, no, no windows and no windows, and it's been bombed, blasted quite a few times, but we didn't actually have any damage such.

Speaker I think you've done absolutely wonderfully well tonight, is there anything that you. I haven't thought to ask, is there anything you'd like to add about your life at the time, capture pictures, finding the book again, the way the book is carried on.

Speaker What about the way the what the book means to you all now to your families? Let's take a. What's the train for the train?

Speaker I think where the book is concerned. We had one given us well, given to mum and dad.

Speaker And my sister took my older sister took it, and we used to say to our children, Oh, about the book, I'm Robert Capa, we actually went over the two of us to that, an exhibition of his work at the American embassy a few years back now.

Speaker And we actually went over there mainly to see whether there was more pictures there, what we hadn't seen than there was. And there was one of that. That was the only one that was over there of any of us. And it was one that we hadn't seen.

Speaker So we were quite pleased that we actually see this photo, but it was worth going to ever know.

Speaker So what we did was we used to say to our children about this book, and sometimes I think they used to look at this and we used to think they think we were told, you know, this has never happened.

Speaker It's our current, our family.

Speaker And we never, ever see the book at all. And then I was saying about it and my son.

Speaker Because he's a lot younger than my daughters, but he finished all his whatever, and he decided to have a go and try and find it and he searched and searched and in bookshops. And about eight years ago, they managed to get this book. He managed to get it and they gave it to me for Mother's Day. So I sat and cried. So I would agree that and I took it down to her. But my son came to my house and I said, Oh, I've got the book. So I took it down to her house to visit her and. Well, they all had to look at it and of course, the children were absolutely fascinated because they they knew what we were saying was that it was right. And then I was asking this about copper and they asked us about everybody else and different things. And the same now with our grandchildren, you see, because I mean, great grandchildren as well. So it's just fascinating. But now Joan has also got a book, so we both got one each.

Speaker I only got mine Christmas. I've only just got mine. So mine hasn't gone round like that yet, but it will be going well.

Speaker And so that is to us it's something and our children think the same, that it's something of our history because, you know, once we're gone, then that's the end of the family, really, because everybody else in the family is going through with knowing each other.

Speaker And he also tells them what our family was doing then and what they got up to them, what mum and dad them down the shelter and such like what we them even we've found out some bits.

Speaker Some of it isn't quite right now.

Speaker There's one bit in there that we both love that because it's about the verb. We did our hair and that did upset that because we both had long curly hair when we were evacuated. And in the book it says that it was cold.

Speaker The well, I'm afraid we went to Devon. So things like that. But there are several bits and bits and, you know, and there's a couple of bits she said, Mum said and I'm sure they reckon you don't know, you know, it could have done. But, you know, it's fascinating.

Speaker So it made you laugh, but it also made you cry when I.

Speaker To say mom and dad on the book, in the book, and as they were and and it brings back memories of it, you know that. Do you know how it happened or even in the Korean War?

Speaker And we found that out when we went to the American embassy. That was the first time we knew about it, wasn't it?

Speaker And did you think about. Your own danger and Al Capone. How that came home to cap a year later or what did it say to you? Did you think about it? You could have been killed, but it was with you or what did it make you think about?

Speaker His death, finding out the way he died, the war may well know he could it could have been killed any time because that was what he'd done.

Speaker But that was his main thing was that was. What a lot, if you like to be out there in the wars and taking photos because you've went through quite, quite a few of them, didn't they?

Speaker And why do you think he risked his life photograph's?

Speaker I don't think you could help yourself.

Speaker I don't think he could help yourself. I think he had to do it. I think it was him. Yeah, he sees something. Like, you would see a book and you would think, oh, yes, I must read that. So you had to have it to read it. He see a photo? Not something there that he had to have that photo of, so he would take it and I think that was it. I don't think I don't think he literally went out there and said, oh, I must stand in the front line and take a photo. I think he just if he'd been walking out here today and something happened, he would take a photo. It wouldn't have to be something to do with war. It could be something to do with a child or an old person. I mean, you could see patches, I wouldn't say has to be whatever. And I got to look at them after all this time, you know, before and after.

Speaker We could have taken your picture now, I think. Oh yeah. Mhm.

Speaker Yeah. I think, I think no I think seriously it could not help yourself. I don't think it was a thing that he said to himself, or I must put myself in danger or anything, that I don't think so at all. I think he just came into it. No, I don't think he even thought about it. I think he just sees something and he had to be done. And that was that that photo.

Speaker And he probably wanted to show the world how other people were.

Speaker Yeah. And how they were doing in those wars as well.

Speaker I mean, I think he ECAC things, um, I tried to make other people say things. Uh, what was happening. He didn't have any more. He doesn't he didn't actually go around and do all the bombings, did it? He was quite happy to go and look at people. I mean, people in there, some very old men all sit in whatever they were all brought back to do work during the war, help him with the bombing, clearing up and what those pictures tell you of the man.

Speaker Yeah, what they looked like, what they are, what they were. And then you've got the difference of the children and their faces. I mean, not everybody can take a like some of those are.

Speaker It's there was in in and he had to do it.

Speaker Yeah, I don't think it was anything else, but just I don't know.

Joan Fletcher and Lily Lindsey
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-v11vd6pw0s, cpb-aacip-504-1n7xk8531q
"Joan Fletcher and Lily Lindsey, Robert Capa: In Love and War." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 01 Feb. 2002,
(2002, February 01). Joan Fletcher and Lily Lindsey, Robert Capa: In Love and War. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Joan Fletcher and Lily Lindsey, Robert Capa: In Love and War." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). February 01, 2002. Accessed June 26, 2022


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.