Strangers came and took us away!
How nice that the Barking and Dagenham Post have done a piece on my wartime memoirs “Blitz and Pieces”. I went to school in this area and I recall the Blitz experience in my book. So my connections are real and I appreciate them taking on this story. Of course I am retired in Spain now”. My book will be out in hardback as of tomorrow 30th April 2015, please see my website: www.percychatteybooks.com for more details.
> B&D POST Link > http://bit.ly/1HTwJxf
Here’s a snippet of the article Thank you B&D Post:
One night in 1939 Percy Chattey was woken and told to get dressed. The three-year-old walked a mile through the winter rain to Whalebone Lane School. Half asleep, scared and confused Percy wondered, were the Germans coming?
It was pitch black – as street lights gave Dagenham’s co ordinations away to potential bombers. After being ushered into cars, trains and a boat he arrived in a small coastal village where he would be evacuated, just as a hazy morning light began to break through the clouds. “I don’t remember much of this journey,” admitted Percy, now 79.
I was too distressed and tired to take in what was going on. “We were told to line up. Total strangers came along the line picking children and taking them away. Can you imagine that happening today?”
Percy grew up in Dagenham and moved to Spain 15 years ago. He said living through “horror and destruction” makes a person flippant, which is why, in his 70s, he chose to write his début memoir “Blitz and Pieces” for his grandchildren to read. Now it’s his autobiography and mainly about his early years in Chadwell Heath during the Second World War.
After returning from evacuation Percy was five-years-old and living on East Street when the blitzing started. “We spent all our nights in the Anderson shelter wondering whether the house was still standing. It was a horrible cold thing with a corrugated steal roof,” he recalled.
“I remember cold, damp, sleepless nights and the sheer fear that when the air raids sounded you didn’t know what was going to happen. The shelter would rock and water poured down the walls. In the morning you’d get up and there would be bits of plane and shrapnel everywhere.”
He said bombs would drop continuously but the following day he’d be expected to go to school – St. Chad’s County Infants on Chadwell Heath’s Japan Road. He remembers a boy crying at school one day because his father had been killed by a doodlebug that morning.
“There was so much death that you had to get on with it and carry on and go to school,” he said. “No one spoke of injuries or death because it was all around us and happened too often. Without a doubt living through the blitz still affects me today. I want my grandchildren to know what it was like when I was young and how different life was then to growing up today.”
Blitz and Pieces will be published in hardback, paperback and eBook on Thursday (April 30 2015). It is available to buy on Amazon and in all major bookshops such as Waterstones, Barns & Noble, Kindle, etc. Or see Percy’s website: http://www.percychatteybooks.com for more details.