Interview with Harold Harvey


Interview with Harold Harvey


Harold Harvey was a child in Washingborough during the Second World War. He witnessed the construction of airfields around his home and could hear and observe the aircraft departing on operations. One November evening he and his mother and sister were walking along a road and were strafed by a German aircraft. One evening when he and his family were preparing to attend a Carol Concert, they witnessed a Lancaster crash to the ground and explode. He describes how the sky was often full of aircraft and he and his father would watch the activity. On many occasions Harold witnessed the massed German aircraft as they headed to bomb British cities. Harold also saw the testing of FIDO when it was first installed in RAF Fiskerton. Harold also recalls how when the RAF stations were closed after the war, the sites were adapted to other uses.




Temporal Coverage





01:47:36 audio recording


IBCC Digital Archive


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MS: First of all, I’m going to start off with some formal stuff. It is exactly 10.21 and it’s Friday the 14th of September 2018, and I’m sitting with Harold Harvey who wants to be known as Harold. Yeah?
HH: Correct.
MS: Ok. And you’re going to be interviewed by me. By me, for the purposes of the International Bomber Command, University of Lincoln, IBCC and Lincoln Digital Archives. You’ve agreed to be interviewed. There are no other persons present because you’ve consented to be interviewed without anybody here but I’ve made it clear to you that, and we’ve got a very nice cup of coffee at the moment, if anybody, if you ever need a comfort break or anything like that because I understand you’ve had an operation recently you just stop the interview and you go and have your comfort break any time you get tired etcetera. Now, are you happy to be interviewed?
HH: Yes. I’m quite happy with that. In fact, I’m pleased to do it.
MS: Thank you very much. That’s very kind. One nice thing about this is that when the interview has been dealt with and transcribed at the, at Riseholme, you will get a copy of the interview. I’ll also go through some other stuff at the end of the interview as well.
HH: That will be very nice and useful for my family.
MS: It will be.
HH: In the future. Yes.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Yes.
MS: Right. So, basically what do you want to tell me?
HH: Well, my very early memories go back to before the war related to the war, and I might not have got the year exactly right but I’m going back to 1938.
MS: Smashing.
HH: And there was an airship came up the line of the Witham very, very slowly one mid-afternoon which created quite a bit of interest to the people in the village because you didn’t see much flying in those days except birds. So, anything like that was, was of interest.
MS: I need to interrupt you for two seconds because I realise I’ve forgotten to say something and you’ve reminded me of it. We’re actually sitting in your house in the moment which [deleted].
HH: Washingborough.
MS: Washingborough. Right. So that’s what you’re describing. You’ve seen this from Washingborough.
HH: Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
MS: I apologise. Carry on.
HH: And living where I did, we, we were only several yards from the Witham. The length of a field from the Witham, and apparently what came out after that was that it had, it was a German, it was a German airship. It had entered the Witham at the Wash at Boston, and it was plotting a route for the enemy aircraft to come in when they, if at that time if the war broke out against us it was plotting a route for enemy aircraft to come and bomb our cities in the Midlands and the North. The Midlands and the North. That’s important because Lincoln Cathedral was a landmark for the German aircraft apparently, and we could tell from where we was at Washingborough whether they were heading north, Manchester, Sheffield that area, or down south Nottingham, Birmingham or the Midlands. That was my very first impression of anything related to what might have been hostilities.
MS: What age were you at this time?
HH: I would be, I would be, well I would be six. I would be six then because the year, seven when the war eventually broke out. It was in September wasn’t it when the war broke out, and I remember it very well being announced over the radio set in the house, actually next door to where we are now. That house next door to where we are now with my sister and my mum and dad. It come on. It is with great regret that we have to announce that we are with hostilities with Germany or words to that effect. We’d given them an ultimatum and we’ve had no reply so we’ve no alternative but to declare war, you see. Go to war.
MS: Who was with you when you heard the declaration? [pause] Who was with you in the room when you heard the declaration?
HH: My mother and father and my sister. My elder sister.
MS: What was the, what was the reaction in the room?
HH: Well, silence. It, it didn’t particularly disturb me because I was obviously too young to really understood what it all meant, but looking back I can see my father’s face. Very much of concern on his face. And however, that was on a Sunday morning, and on that very evening at dusk or just after dusk the sirens sounded that told us that in the event of any aircraft coming over, enemy aircraft coming the sirens would sound from the factories, which they did. And I can always remember my father said, ‘Right. We’ve got to take shelter,’ and he put us under the, under the big old wooden table that we had like it. But nothing happened of course. I think it was just something to get everybody going. That was my first, that was my first memories of, of, of the Second World War. But then there was a period then when we didn’t notice. We didn’t notice that anything was happening. Nothing happened around here. We could hear, occasionally hear on the radio where something had happened. Mainly down south. Enemy aircraft had been spotted, or they’d been over but then, but then the enemy bombing started, you see.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And things begun to heat up a bit, but then that wasn’t until well in, well in to the 1940, you see. Again, it didn’t affect us at all, because it wasn’t significant around here. But then it seemed when I say all of a sudden things started to happen quickly in as much as there was a lot of movement. Aircraft started to appear. I can’t quite remember the early ones, but they were taking it seriously and, and, and they realised they had to do something to counteract, because the Germans were then coming over in a little bit more force with their more, far more modern bombers and they were modern bombers in those days, the. You know, the Messerschmitt 110s and the Heinkels and all the things like that and of course the fighters, the Messerschmitt 109s and things like that. And airfields. Airfields started to appear in Lincoln. Fiskerton. It was our first sighting of any sort of activity rather than action. Activity. And apparently what they used to do they used to go around and select a site and get the bulldozers and get cracking and then could tell the farmers that they was occupying the fields to the dismay of a lot of the landowners of course.
MS: Right.
HH: At Fiskerton, and we could see it because it was just on the hill rise looking over the Witham from us. Oh, I’ll say a mile and a half away. And although main, the main airfield part of the airfield was sort of behind trees and hedges the, the main runway which went northeast southwest it appeared, and we could see the aircraft on the airfield when they were at that end of the airfield. And, and of course then by the time they’d got that I think we were going, getting on to ’42 now. 1942, and, and, and the planes started to appear. Before that we had seen planes like, well the Manchester was the forerunner of the Lancaster. It seemed to be the one. And the Wellingtons and the Whitleys, and the Hampdens. Aeroplanes like that were appearing from bases like Waddington and Scampton which were already established bases. I understand that even bases like Coningsby was really not, it was in the early part of the war when it started. Obviously Cranwell.
MS: Oh yeah.
HH: But it was a training base. Mainly a training base. It was one of the first round here going back, I think I’m right to say 1918 or something like that. 1921, it was when it was commissioned to the RAF. Anyway, I might be wrong with my facts there but yeah it was when the airfields started to get in to Lincolnshire. And then there was Fiskerton. We were very interested in Fiskerton because we could see it. But then we got to know there was one being built at Bardney. One being constructed at Metheringham. There was, there was the three satellite ones at, well Coleby was a fighter airfield which came along a bit later. But then you go around to Skellingthorpe and, and then you come across to the satellite ones at, at, at Scampton which was Dunholme Lodge and Ingham although it was a bit further away but the aircraft started to get more intense. And even though Fiskerton was a mile and a half or so away building, well not building work but we saw work around here because they used to put a ring of lights around the airfields. And circular lights, what the aircraft were supposed to let, showed them where their airfield was and tried to keep within those bounds, because when they got really busy the aircraft, the sky was full of aircraft and the ring lights, the outer circle lights from Scampton came across the field I’m looking at now.
MS: Really?
HH: Right. Yeah. They weren’t too near. There was one near the bottom of the field. The cable was buried under the ground. Then another wooden pole stuck up with another light on near the road, just a few yards down from where we’re sitting now with another light on. That went all the way around the airfield.
MS: Really?
HH: And the light, and when when, when they got started taking off seriously for the raids these lights would come on and we would know then that they, ok, watch out the engines are warming up. There’s going, soon going to be a bit of action.
MS: So literally just down the road from here, there was one of the lights for Fiskerton.
HH: Yes. Yes. Only, only [pause] yeah, a hundred yards down the road.
MS: Ok.
HH: But and, and the next one was just past where those trees are. Well, it’s no good me saying that there but near the, just this side the Witham.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But still, but still in this field what I’m looking at now straight across. I’m looking north now from my house.
MS: We don’t, we don’t realise how close we are to Fiskerton, sitting on the other side of the river.
HH: No. No. Fiskerton was our nearest aircraft soi, our, our nearest airfield so we, we was always interested in, in what was going on and any action that they would send. They would send anything ten to fifteen aircraft up on a raid when they were busy.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And my father and I, as I say we lived next door to where we are now. We would stand. He used to have a saying, ‘Boy, now boy, we’ll have to go out and see if there’s anything happening tonight.’ And we’d go out, see if any of the aircraft was warming up, which we could hear, and we would stand against our gate on the Fen Road here and, and watch them take off night after night after night. That was when they had got started doing the major raids.
MS: Yeah.
HH: On Germany. The most outstanding one that I can remember experience was the, well the famous Dambuster raids. Now, that night my father had been out. It was obviously a May night so it was a pleasant night and he kept saying, ‘There’s nothing happening tonight boy,’ he says, ‘There’s nothing warming up.’ And then about 9 o’clock or just before we could hear Scampton, and Scampton even though it’s what seven, seven, six seven mile away as the, well I was going to say —
MS: As the crow flies.
HH: As the crow flies. As the Lancasters fly.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Yeah. We can hear them, hear them very easy. Still can the Red Arrows and people like, aeroplanes like that and he come in and he says, ‘They’re warming up at Scampton,’ he says, ‘But there’s only them. There’s only them warming up.’ Anyway, we waited, and about twenty past nineish they started to take off and we, we counted eighteen take off. We could hear each aircraft take off. It was as plain, in fact we could see them because it was a May night, and it hadn’t obviously got dark and we could see them circling. But apparently, I think there was, well nineteen aircraft, but that doesn’t matter. We counted eighteen, you know as close as that, and I always remember my father he said, he said, ‘We shall have to listen to the wireless.’ Not a radio. ‘We shall have to listen to the wireless in the morning.’ He says, ‘There’s something a bit special on tonight.’ And of course, then it came out that, that the dams had been breached like.
MS: On the Ruhr.
HH: But previous, just previous to that, there was these aircraft flying about, Lancasters with a peculiar shape underneath them, and they were carrying the dummy, the dummy bouncing bombs, and of course we didn’t know what they were, in. The bomb bays had been reconstructed hadn’t they to, to carry these —
MS: They put a ridge on.
HH: To carry these bombs you see.
MS: That’s right.
HH: But then of course it all came to light then after that what it was all about. So that, and that was possibly the one that sticks in my memory the most and [pause] seventy. No. Eighty four. No. When, when was it that the when the, when the Memorial Service was at Scampton?
MS: I don’t know.
HH: Seventy years after it was [pause] well it, it would be four years ago, wouldn’t it?
MS: Yeah.
HH: And and, and they had this service at exactly the same time on the airfield as what they took off and I stood in the very same spot that night again and it all went through my mind. Yes. Seventy years on. So that’s how it was indelibly printed in my mind. The, possibly the, the other raid that stands out that the RAF did was the first one thousand bomber raid on Cologne. Now, again that was a, either a spring, it was light nights anyway, and, and it was in the days before we had got to many of the big aircraft so there was, anything that could fly was in the air that night. All the old Whitleys with the nose down. They always looked as though they was flying with the nose down the Whitleys. And the Wellingtons, they were a bit more pleasant aircraft to look at in shape. And the Hampdens and I don’t know if the Manchesters was involved in that one or not, but there weren’t too many of the, I don’t know think there was Lancs in the Cologne. I might be wrong there but there was a lot of the older aircraft involved in the, in the Cologne. I think that was just over a thousand bombers but it was classed as the first one thousand bomber raid and I remember it. We stood and the sky was, at one time well just full of aircraft. Full of it. It didn’t matter where you looked there was aircraft and, you know. That stands out in my mind as well. And then of course we never knew where they were going of course but the next day —
MS: You know they were going east.
HH: Well, yeah. Yeah. We, we knew they were going to Germany.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But I mean we didn’t know what the target was, and but then next morning they would say so many of our aircraft attacked the German city of Cologne and so many of our aircraft are missing. They never said how many aircrew were missing, which you times that. Well, as the raids went on later on with the Lancs you timed that by seven but that’s by the by.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But those are vivid memories. Vivid memories that I have of, of, of the aircraft taking off and the airfields around here. So, yeah, it does stand out in my mind very vividly.
MS: Ok. Did you, you were going to school during this time no doubt.
HH: Oh yeah. Yeah. I was Washingborough School for a start but when, when we’d got to well it would be the middle of the war’ish, for some reason or other we were, a lot of us were transferred from Washingborough School to what was St Andrews School in Lincoln then. There was a school near, down near the football ground, which later became Bishop King.
MS: Right.
HH: Which of course it isn’t there now. There is a Bishop King School there but it’s, they completely rebuilt school on the site of South Park.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But that’s where I went and of course we had, I can remember the air raid shelters that were built in the streets, in the cities. The brick air raid shelter. They actually built them in the streets you see. As they did, I suppose in all the town and cities.
MS: What? Sitting proud above the pavement.
HH: Oh yeah. Brick buildings. Brick buildings.
MS: As shelters.
HH: Air raid shelters. Yeah. Yeah. And when the air raid warning, the people just came out the houses and just went into these shelters. They had a very heavy concrete roof on them you see but even then they wouldn’t stand a direct hit and some, not in Lincoln, but in some of the places if the shelter got hit everybody was killed in it you see.
MS: Did you see? Did, sorry go on.
HH: Yeah. But we, we had, we had four or five of these brick shelters built at the end of our playground at, at school and we used to, and gas masks and all of a sudden, a bell used to sound and it used to be a practice. Practice. We used to have to put our gas masks on in little tins, get these gasmasks. Put them on and go, not run, we used to go in orderly fashion to go in to the air raid shelter. Practice to get in as quick as we could, you see. So that was, that was another thing that we used to have to do, yeah. You were going to ask me a question.
MS: No. You’ve covered it.
HH: Yeah. And —
MS: I was just going to ask you what sort of things you did.
HH: Well, I’ve gone on a bit quicker with the aircraft then I’ve got my notes down. My very, very first experience of enemy action was quite a frightening one, although I suppose I’ve maybe become more frightened of it in recent years than what I did at the time, and it was the 5th of November. Now, again I can’t remember the exact year but it was very early on in the war but my recollection is it was either a Messerschmitt 109 which was, I think they were single seater fighter.
MS: They were.
HH: Or a 110 which I think they had two in. They were more of a fighter bomber.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But it was dusk. Dusk. We’d come home from school obviously, my sister and I. Guy Fawkes night, the 5th of November, and in those days we used to go to the neighbours, ‘Please can you remember — ’and either get tuppence or threepence from them if you was lucky. And my mother says, ‘Right, we’ll, we’ll, I’ll go with you just down the road. We’re not going far because it will soon be dark and you never know what’s about.’ [laughs]
MS: No.
HH: All that sort of thing. And we’d only got, we’d been to one house. I think we’d got threepence from it each. Old money I’m talking about.
MS: The old.
HH: Not three P. The old twelve-sided threepenny bit.
MS: That’s right.
HH: Yeah. And, and we had just come out of the first house and was going out to the next and this enemy aircraft come quite low. We spotted it at, at the distance as soon as you could see it. It was very low, coming right up the line of the road, and I think it saw us but I think it only frightened us because it could have cleaned us up. And when it got within distance it fired. Da da da da da da. Fired at us and we could hear the, we were on the path this side of the road and we could hear the bullets going in the hedge the other side of the road and of course, it had gone.
MS: Really.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. So, we were fired. When I say we were fired at, I think, I still think to this day that that pilot saw us and he was having in his mind a little joke with us. You know. Because he could have cleaned us up like nobody’s business, couldn’t he? But of course, we only got threepence a piece that year because we [did a turtle] and come back like so, but that’s my very early —
MS: Was it worth threepence?
HH: And from then on.
MS: Yeah.
HH: I realised that there was danger involved. That there was danger involved. But that’s, that’s the nearest we got I think to enemy, enemy bullets like.
MS: Can I ask you a question? You know those bullets went in the hedge. Did you go looking for any bits or anything?
HH: No. No.
MS: No.
HH: Because, well we, well they’ll still be there somewhere but how far would they go in? And I don’t, don’t even know what size they would be like.
MS: No.
HH: They would only be small. Well, bullets I suppose. They wouldn’t be shells as such because they didn’t explode like. But yeah, I’ll always remember. They rattled. They rattled in that hedge that’s always been there in my lifetime. We could hear them hitting the hedge all right and of course the noise from the, from the da da da da da ever so quick like. But that, that, that was the nearest we got to being shot at during the war.
MS: What was your mother’s reaction?
HH: Well, petrified because she, she realised what could have happened where, well I didn’t particularly. They just fired at us and that was it like. But —
MS: You were still a school child.
HH: We could have all been dead.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And, and I think if that, I still think to this day if that German pilot hadn’t have been human we would have been.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But he was human and if I’m right what I’m thinking I’m grateful to him. Anyway, carrying on, after that we did come across quite a lot of firing because, and machine gunning because when the aircraft were coming back after the raids they would be followed in by, they’d get mixed up with especially, especially the Messerschmitts, when the Messerschmitt 109s got going like, and they would sort of get behind them, and they couldn’t always detect that they was mixed up with enemy aircraft in those days you see.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And occasionally you would, you would get one, one of our planes fired on by a Messerschmitt you see. And then of course you would hear him dive off and he would be gone somewhere else. This would be the early hours of the morning when they was coming back and things like that, because obviously the lights were on. They would have the tip lights on.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Wing tip lights on. And these circular lights which I’ve been talking about. They would be on as well and there would be certain lights on at the airfield. So, it wasn’t completely dark but so it was easy for, for some of these aircraft just to come in and make a nuisance of themselves and occasionally they would. I can’t remember any specific incidents of them shooting aircraft down but they did get them. They did get some like in different parts of the places.
MS: There was one in Waddington.
HH: Yeah.
MS: Wasn’t there?
HH: Yeah. Yeah.
MS: And at Whisby I think.
HH: Apparently, the story goes that one actually followed one of our planes in and went along the runway and fired at him and then took off again on the runway. Whether that’s right or not, but of course you heard all sorts of stories. Yeah. But crashes, of course. We, we got a few crashes, and the biggest, and it did frighten me this one. It was the Christmas, and, and I can’t remember the exact year and I can’t find a proper detailed account of it except 1942, but were the Lancasters flying in 1942?
MS: Do you know, I don’t know exactly.
HH: No.
MS: But I suspect they were.
HH: That’s, that’s what confuses me because I’ve got it in a book where two Lancasters crashed and it tallies with what happened. One from number 9 Squadron which was based at Bardney. I can’t remember the other squadron but I think it was, it was a Waddington aircraft and they collided just slightly south of Washingborough village and one crashed, well, in the parish of Heighington just west of Heighington village and south of Washingborough village. Apparently, the aircraft, one of the aircraft it, it blew up in mid-air and I’m not sure where. They would be a big lump of it come down even though it did blow up but my memory of that was, it was the Christmas. It was the Sunday before. It was the Sunday night before Christmas as Christmas was on the Wednesday that year. Now, if it was, I think it was maybe ’43, but I’ve seen it in the book where it was ’42 but it was early, middle of the war when the raids were —
MS: Yeah.
HH: When the, when our bombers were doing the heavy raids like. And my father and my mother and my sister and I we were walking up past the school at Washingborough. School Lane. And we were going to meet my grandma and grandad which lived in the village. This would be quarter past five time because there was a Carol Service on at the Chapel that evening and we were all going to it. But anyway, while we were going up the aircraft were taking off which, ’Oh, look at that one dad,’ and, ‘Look at that one dad.’ And all of a sudden — bang. There was this hell of an explosion and there was bits of burning aircraft, well, all over the place for, well maybe a mile each way around us like. It just blew up. Full stop. And my memory of that is one of the aircraft, its wing had just come off and the aircraft spiralled down. The Lanc, they were two Lancasters, and it spiralled down, and I could nearly put a stake in, in where it landed. I can tell you within a few yards of where it actually crashed in, in the field.
MS: Where? Where was that from here? How far away?
HH: A mile.
MS: Yeah.
HH: No more than a mile.
MS: What roughly, what time was this? Roughly what time was this in the evening?
HH: This would be then, well half past five time. Yeah. Half past five time. 5.30. And it had been down a few minutes when, well when I say its bomb load there was a massive explosion. Whether it’s his petrol tanks or its bomb load but it was it was quite, quite a big explosion to what we people were used to.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And we, my dad and I, my mother and my sister had gone on to my grandmother’s because they were frightened but my dad and I were stood watching it. We couldn’t actually see it because there was a little bit of a dip but the plume of black smoke come up and of course the sky was alight with the fire and things like that, and this explosion occurred. Enough for us. We could feel, we could feel the impact of the movement of air. Now, when we came, eventually came back home the Carol Service anyway was cancelled that night because it had just simply upset everybody in the village because as you can imagine people realised that fourteen souls had perished literally in a flash.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But when we came home, back to where, next door to where I’m living now the windows, our front windows which is on the opposite side to where the plane had crashed had been blown in. The glass was in, in the room.
MS: Right.
HH: And the theory, the theory that we were told was that it was a curvature of the way the blast goes and it was sucking it back or something. I don’t understand it but that’s what we were told. But whatever it was the glass was inside the room where we would have thought it would have been the ones facing the crash that would have been. But it wasn’t. That was the mysterious part about it.
MS: Explosions.
HH: So that, that was and I’ve, I’ve spoken a time or two to people but I can’t seem to get through. I would like some sort of a monument put on that gate.
MS: For those guys.
HH: But of course, it would all have to be researched properly and stuff like that to get the proper —
MS: Is it, is it just a field where they landed? It didn’t land on houses. It landed in a field.
HH: No. No. It was an open field.
MS: That was lucky.
HH: The only damage that was done was where bits of the property as had bits come down and the explosion. Yeah. It was in open fields. The nearest, well the nearest houses would only be a couple of hundred yards away. I don’t quite know what happened to them but it didn’t blow them down or anything like that.
MS: So just to try and establish roughly where it was, right. We’re sitting in Washingborough at the moment so it was on the south side of Washingborough.
HH: It was on the south side. It was almost equidistant between Washingborough and Branston.
MS: Right.
HH: Well, no more than, no more than a half a mile, less than half a mile west of Heighington.
MS: Right.
HH: So that would give you a good location on a map.
MS: Yeah. And did you go and have a look at the site of that crash at all?
HH: We went as far as we could because, but the road that went down past it was closed for a week because there was all sorts of —
MS: Yeah.
HH: Well, still, still things exploding. Ammunition and things like that, you see. But it, it was, well I don’t know. It just seemed to pass I suppose. Any salvaging they could find they did it and there was quite a bit of activity down there with RAF, you know. People down there and clearing things up and things like that and then the road was opened and you just got on with the rest of the war in those days.
MS: Yeah.
HH: But I did hear. I did hear a story where the farmer that it belonged to had sheep in the field at the time and he got permission, he got permission to go look see what had happened to his field either the next day, or a couple of days later. Which of course there I think somebody from the RAF escorted him down there and the story goes that although he was a very country hard sort of a farmer man, nothing bothered him, he hadn’t been in the field much when he saw a fella’s leg, and he passed out.
MS: Right.
HH: Now, how true that story is I don’t know but I have heard, I’ve heard several people say that they picked parts of bodies up so that was the extent of the —
MS: Yeah.
HH: Hand. Hand. Somebody had found an hand or something like that and it, like I say, you just that as a boy my age that was part of life in those days that things happened like that. Of course, I’ve come to terms with it more since. Realised the seriousness of it. But every Christmas now, and on the Sunday evening before Christmas it comes back to me and I think now somewhere in the world because there might have been Canadians on it, people like that somewhere in the world there’s a relative thinking, it’s so many years tonight since. Maybe still got a sister left, a daughter. My uncle, since he got killed. They wouldn’t know where he had been killed but I remember that. Every Christmas I remember. That’s how implanted it is on my mind. Things like that.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Yeah.
MS: You’re remembering. That’s one thing.
HH: Sorry?
MS: You’re remembering. That’s good.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because while this is not relevant to what we’re talking about, I have an uncle who I’m named after, Uncle Harold. He was killed in the First World War at [Pernes] on the 8th of August 1918. So it was a hundred years a week or two back since he lost his life, and my eldest daughter which lives at Cherry Willingham her and I went. His name’s on the War Memorial at Potterhanworth, so her and I went out and put a memorial plaque on there and a thing in the churchyard. So, there’s certainly people, the point I’m saying that is there’s, there’s people about now that still remember relatives from the First World War, isn’t there? Very much so.
MS: There are.
HH: A lot of them.
MS: That’s right.
HH: Daughters and, and, granddaughters, and nephews and nieces. Yeah. If I, if I have a nephew, as a nephew can remember my uncle from the First World War there’s certainly plenty from the Second World War.
MS: Oh yeah.
HH: Yeah. But, yeah that’s, other things I can remember from the bombing point of view was we had some bombs dropped near us one, well it was, it was 9 o’clock one evening. I can’t remember what month it was but it was dark so it would obviously be in the back end of the winter months not far from where we are now and there was three explosions. Quite loud explosions. Not enough to do any damage. And again, I could take you. I could, I could simply put a stake in where that bomb landed because as you know when something explodes and turns all the subsoil up and that it’s never quite the same colour again. That’s, that’s why from years ago you can find out where places have been built on. There’s been excavations.
MS: That’s true.
HH: And things like that. But there were certainly two this side the river. Two bombs dropped this side the river and the other dropped, we’re not quite sure where. It must have been possibly got across the river. But the aircraft apparently was travelling from the south towards the north and the theory, I don’t know how true these facts are. Well, they’re maybe not facts. They’re just what people were saying at the time, that the enemy aircraft spotted the, possibly spotted a train which the railway line was still there. Bardney railway line was still there and, and the fire that if, if the fellow opened the fire box to stoke they could see the fire. Or, or any light related and if they saw any lights, they would just drop his bombs. That’s the theory of that. There was no other reason to drop bombs but then again, they was in the field and they didn’t do any harm.
MS: So, where we’re sitting now on Fen Road and the case of the recorder, we are literally a field away from the river, aren’t we?
HH: Yes.
MS: So, it’s fallen between this house and the river.
HH: Yeah. But it’s a half a mile down the road, to the east of where we’re —
MS: Right.
HH: Sitting now.
MS: Towards the Bardney direction.
HH: Yes. In the Bardney direction.
MS: I see. And, and, the point you’re making is, is that the, it’s really in open countryside, so that’s —
HH: Very much so.
MS: So that’s why you, you talked about the railway.
HH: Yeah.
MS: I understand it fully.
HH: Yeah. And again, it didn’t do any damage at all. But of course, another significant night when there was, was when the landmines, two landmines [coughs] excuse me, were dropped at Waddington. Now, one hit the village. Now, again the story goes that it hit the church, or dropped very very close to the church and whilst it did quite extensive damage in the village they say if it had dropped in a more open part of the village it could have destroyed the village. It was that intense.
MS: Really?
HH: And it completely collapsed the church and it fell, it fell in such a way that it didn’t scatter the, it didn’t scatter the stones very much at all, and I’ve seen a picture that was taken from the air. It was just, the debris was just laid on the ground in the shape of the church, of a cross. Like a church is with a, yeah, that. But that, but the, the other landmine it, it dropped on the camp at Waddington. On the airfield, and it was, in those days apparently there was a lot of WAAFs at Waddington parachute packing, administration and all that sort of thing. Whatever the WAAFs did. And, and if you had a friend that was in aircrew you watched them take off from a distance and then you went to the NAAFI and waited ‘til them coming back which obviously a camp like Waddington there was quite a lot of people involved. And they were in the NAAFI Club waiting for them to come back and this landmine hit the NAAFI. Killed the lot of them. And the, the manageress of the NAAFI, I suppose that’s the right term at that time was a lady called Miss Raven, and after the war there was a, a club built there and they called it the Raven Club and apparently that’s why they called it the Raven Club.
MS: I used to be there and I didn’t know that was the reason for the name. Yeah.
HH: Really? Well, that’s the story I’ve heard.
MS: Oh right.
HH: And, but what was significant to me as a boy was my father was then in, in the building trade.
MS: Yeah.
HH: He used to be. And him with quite a lot more was sent up to Waddington. And he was one that was sent on the camp to clear the mess up from the NAAFI.
MS: Yeah.
HH: The next day. And I always remember him coming home quite late into the evening and he couldn’t eat his tea because he’d been pulling young women’s bodies out. And he was literally sick. It had upset him to that extent, and I always remember him saying, ‘You know somebody’s lost some lovely daughters last night.’ That, that sticks in my memory quite vividly because it did upset my father that did. Another occasion he had to clear up bomb damage was, the Nurses Home at Lincoln County Hospital was hit one Sunday afternoon by a single bomb and it killed, it killed one of the, one of the matrons that was in at the time. I don’t think it killed anybody else but one of the matrons. She got killed. And the, and the next day him and a lot more of the men from William Wright’s as he worked for in those days, they had the job of going to, well if you call tidying the mess up as you, you do. You just don’t leave it. Clearing it all up and reinstating it the best way they could like. So, he was involved in quite a bit of that work and he did work, he did work at Scampton, Waddington Aerodrome for long periods putting dispersals points in for the Lancasters to sit on. You know what I mean by that.
MS: I do. I’ve sat on one myself.
HH: Yeah [laughs]
MS: Yeah.
HH: And he did that. He worked a lot there. And then when the war had finished he was still working there and, and him and another fella had the job of taking some of the blackouting sheets down from out the hangars and apparently they’d screwed these boards up, or whatever they were with black Japan screws. And I can always remember my dad had a great big tin of these black Japan screws that he brought home and I’ve of course, and I’ve still maybe some in my shed. I know I had at one time because I used to hoard stuff what my dad had had, and when he died I put stuff, but they was in the tins, and some of the tins I couldn’t get the lid off because they had rusted on, so they had to go. But I had, I certainly had black Japan screws from Waddington Aerodrome and used them.
MS: Yeah.
HH: For quite a while. Little stories like that.
MS: Yeah.
HH: You know.
MS: Connections.
HH: Beautiful little stories.
MS: Yeah.
HH: There’s one story that I’m going to tell you about but not too much detail and it’s about the Dambusters and Guy Gibson.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Because where he was billeted the people, well it’ll be the grandchildren I suppose now still live at the place and I don’t think they want it banded about too much that Guy Gibson was there during the Dambuster raid. So I’m just going to say I was at a place where the wing commander was stationed during his time while he was training for the raids at Scampton because as, as most of us know 617 Squadron wasn’t a Scampton based squadron. They was Woodhall weren’t they?
MS: Sure.
HH: They was at Scampton because of the dams and it was convenient for them to exercise and practice and what not from there and Gibson, Gibson, Guy, the wing commander, I’ll be respectful to him, he was based at this place in, well in Brattleby. I’ll go no further than that and I worked, I worked on that property after the war, 1947 when I got started to work. And I’ve handled and walked on the same places as the wing commander. And we were clearing. Clearing quite a bit of stuff out because the, the lady where he was, where we was billeted the lady was living in the house at the same time. A biggish house it was and if Guy Gibson’s, if the wing commander’s name was mentioned she said, ‘Don’t mention that name to me. I hated the fellow. I couldn’t bear him. He’s, he’s ruined my property,’ because he had, he has carved his initials or his name on all sorts of places in the house in the oak. On the oak panelling, on the architraves and things like that. Guy Gibson. All over the place it was carved. On window frames —
MS: Really?
HH: Because we know he was eccentric, wasn’t he?
MS: Yeah, he was. He was a vandal [laughs].
HH: Now, there was a, there was a rod reared up on one of the staircases. A rod with a brass hook on top what you used to use for opening windows. You know the type of thing I mean.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And I, I picked up and this the lady was there and, and I says, ‘Gibson’s name is on it.’ ‘Get rid of it, Put it on the bonfire. Put it on the bonfire.’ Which we did. I wish thousands of times I’d said to her, ‘Can I take it?’ You know what I mean?
MS: Yes.
HH: I was handling stuff.
MS: You’re always wise afterwards.
HH: I was burning stuff that the wing commander, ok if somebody would have said to me, ‘Can you prove it was him?’ Which I couldn’t, but I knew it was. But that was the connection.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Indirect connection I had with Guy Gibson. And also, she told me a story, this lady’s told me this story. She was very eccentric as well and she used to play the church organ. And, and she sometimes used to go in to the church any time during the hours of darkness. Anytime. 3 o’clock in the morning.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Something like that, and have a tune on this organ and she, she says, she says, ‘Guy Gibson wasn’t as brave,’ and this is how she used to talk to him, he wasn’t, ‘Gibson,’ she used to address him as. ‘He wasn’t as brave as they made him out to be. I frightened him. I frightened the life out of him.’ And she’d tell me a nice little story. He came, he came home a couple of nights off the practice raids and there was music in the church at Brattleby, and curiosity got the better of him. And he came home, again being on the practice 3 o’clock in the morning according to her timing she said and his curiosity got the better of him and he couldn’t understand why the music was playing at that time and he came, she says, ‘I heard the doors go at the back and I peeped around.’ She said, ‘It was me playing the organ. Me playing the organ.’ she said, ‘I see Gibson and I thought to myself oh get off, get off back to bed. It’s time you was in bed.’ That sort of talk, you see, she says and the next morning, ‘He spoke to me,’ he says, ‘I think you’ve a ghost in your church.’ He says, ‘I peeped in last night, I could hear the music and there was a figure there in a white robe.’ She was in her bed gear, a white robe playing the organ. She said, ‘I never let on. I never let on.’ Isn’t it a lovely story that?
MS: Oh yes.
HH: Yeah. But that’s my, as you like indirect, indirect connection with Guy Gibson so I don’t feel all that far apart from him. I’ve walked on the ground where he’s walked you see.
MS: And you’ve handled something he’s vandalised [laughs]
HH: And I’ve handed things he’s handled. Yeah. Yeah. Much to the disliking of the person whose property it was, you see. Things like that. Yeah. So, and then as the, well as the war progressed of course, round here we got a small unit, a small Army unit with a searchlight in the field at the back of where the school is now. And then, and one anti-aircraft gun. And apparently the search light was quite a strong one. I don’t know. They, they used to seem to say that these searchlights worked in groups and they sort of had a leader one and it was a very, very powerful searchlight, and I can remember you know, if, if there was a raid if, if there was enemy aircraft about the sky would then get lit up with these searchlights, and I’ve seen a few, few enemy aircraft in the beam. They had a job to get out of them hadn’t they because one light would.
MS: Yeah.
HH: They would have several lights on them, you see.
MS: Yeah, coned.
HH: There were, well I, I should think you’ll know what, seen searchlights haven’t you, and they’re very powerful beams straight up you know.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Aren’t they? Wonderful lights. They all had their own generators of course. Yeah. But they were a wonderful thing during the war searchlights was. And yeah, some of the, some of the lads that was in the Army in Washingborough in fact one of them, one of the, one of lads, he married a Washingborough girl and he stayed here after the war and he used to run the football team which I played for like. And things like that and, but yeah it, it, was all things come back to your mind. You see and of course as, as the airfields got around here even from Fiskerton, some of the airmen would, they would come over the ferry. There was a ferry at Fiskerton, down Five Mile Lane.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Which is straight up a set, where the airfield was. They would come over that and they would go to either Heighington to the pubs or come up here. And they would, they’d come trotting up to the pub, four or five or more of them, or some of them on bikes, you see. They would come on bikes to the pubs and things like that, and here you would, well I, I wasn’t in the pubs at that time but used to have a chat to them if they had time as they were going past and things like that, you see.
MS: Many Americans?
HH: We didn’t see, the Americans were mainly at Waddington. The Fortresses. So, we didn’t come into contact with, with the Americans. Not, not, not here. No. But of course, when they came over and started to do their bombing they was mainly the daylight lads you see. So, when our aircraft had come back and got settled down then during the morning the big Americans, the B47s, the Flying Fortresses as they called them they would, they would start taking off. So there was always loads and loads of action, and then as the time went on and we were beginning to get a real grip on the war, and we was preparing for Arnhem in particular. There was airborne squadron based at [pause] oh, Leadenham. That’s not quite the right name.
MS: Metheringham.
HH: No. Not Metheringham. One of the airfields up between Leadenham and Navenby on the top, and Wellingore area.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And, and out there. And the Americans that come over there as well, and they were practicing with the Dakotas and the gliders you see. And, and all, all we knew was that these Dakotas started to appear and then they would be pulling the gliders because they’d take off, you know they didn’t leave it while the actual time, they was practicing with them and things and we’d see these aircraft flying all over the place pulling, pulling another aeroplane as we used to call it like in those days. Of course, we, we didn’t know what was going on of course, because things was kept secret naturally. They had to be, didn’t they?
MS: Yeah.
HH: And we just had to wait ‘til, and then, and then all of a sudden it just went quiet, and then within a couple of days we heard that, you know there had been a major parachute landing at Arnhem of course. And then a similar thing happened pre D-Day. You see, although we didn’t see quite so much action —
MS: Are you ok?
HH: Round here pre D-Day because it was mainly down the south with the little boats and things like that but we did see a lot of the action that was being practiced with the, with the paratroopers and the aircraft pre D-Day.
MS: Can I ask you a question? I just saw you stand up then. Are you comfortable? Do you need to carry on or do you want a break?
HH: No. I’m alright. I’m alright.
MS: Are you sure?
HH: Yeah. Yeah. I’m thinking about your time as well.
MS: No. You’re ok. I just want to make sure you’re ok.
HH: And, and then of course as the, as the war went on and, and the raids got far more intense it, it became all Lancaster around here then. We, we had a fright. A fright one night. I remember it vividly. FIDO.
HH: FIDO. Fiskerton. FIDO.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And we didn’t know what had happened but apparently they’d put these strips of pipes either side of the runway at, at Fiskerton, the main runway at Fiskerton and filled them full of petrol and they were apparently testing them. It was early evening, but obviously dark. Winter’s night, and we were looking out for anything that might be of interest to watch and it flared up from one length of the airfield to the other. We couldn’t work it out. Why is the airfield on fire? And people were obviously ringing the services up and things like that and they, they knew about it of course but we, we never got any feedback. Well, we hadn’t a phone ourselves. We just didn’t know what was happening. But then it eventually came out that it was for, you know when the weather was bad to enable the —
MS: For nights.
HH: Because previous to that there had been one particularly bad night when they’d gone on a raid and the weather had closed in before they got back, and the fog had clamped down. And, and they, Lincolnshire was covered in, in, in this fog and they couldn’t find the airfields and there was quite a lot crashed that night. And even though they tried to talk them down they weren’t really successful. I think they had to abort to some of the airfields where it was clearer.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Mainly down south and things like that. But that was a bad night and that obviously provoked them into doing things to try and enable them but then, yeah. Fiskerton. If it was a bad night they was to light FIDO and we used to get loads of aircraft coming in. Loads of them coming in of course from the other airfields around about. Why they chose Fiskerton and not one of the bigger airfields like when there was Scampton, but that was so be it. That’s what they did like. And after, after the war the firm I worked for apparently, they were two inch diameter pipes with little holes drilled in them at intervals for the petrol to squirt out. Perfect for scaffolding. Steel pipes perfect for scaffolding. The firm I worked for, William Wright’s had the job of dismantling it. They cut them up in to sections and kept it and I used a lot of it for scaffolding.
MS: Really?
HH: For years after that, yeah.
MS: How big was the —
HH: Before the light scaffolding came into use.
MS: Yeah. How big were the holes?
HH: Well, no more than a, well I’m going to say well I’m going to say in old money maybe an eighth of an inch maybe.
MS: Ok.
HH: Maybe not even that.
MS: So, it was pressurised.
HH: Oh yeah. It was pressurised and squirted you see.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And they must have got a heck a lot of, I don’t know how they got pressurised you know, to get from. Maybe be boosted you see.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Things like that. But it was equal. Equal flames either side the runway for the length of the runway and apparently it used, it used a lot of petrol. In fact, I think I’ve read where one night it used eighteen thousand gallons of petrol in one night.
MS: Wow.
HH: Which, but then I mean if you’re going to save a few Lancasters from crashing it pays for itself because petrol wouldn’t have been ever so expensive in them days, would it?
MS: No.
HH: I suppose.
MS: It would be rare though. You’d, you know —
HH: Well, yeah. I, I mean what sort of petrol were used. Whether, different grades, but I shouldn’t suppose they would use the same stuff as they put in the bombers because it was a bit specialised I would have thought.
MS: I genuinely don’t know.
HH: No. I don’t know, but that’s what they used apparently. Petrol. And all things, I mean I don’t know the details why they used that, or why they couldn’t use say diesel or something but they didn’t according to the readings, and but as I say that’s my connection. We, we had things that was used in the war. And —
MS: Made use, you what do they call it? Upcycling.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And, and also using stuff as well, you’ll probably laugh at this but it’s a fact, when aircraft crashed like the one I mentioned down the sheep wash, you could find bits of aircraft all over the place. Of course, where these houses are now was all open fields and we used to walk about with my dogs picking a rabbit up for dinner because it was, always made a good dinner rabbit did in them days, you see. And you would pick bits of aircraft up like bits of fuselage, and if it was not too big to carry it home you would bring it home, and if it was reasonably straight and things like that and, and of course we kept pigs as most people did in these villages in Lincolnshire at those times and we used to get rats gnawing through the boards and things like that, and if we had any bits of rotten boards around the bottom, we would nail a bit of Lancaster around. Things like that. Never thought any more of it, like you know. And, and another —
MS: Have you still got any left?
HH: No. Unfortunately, no. No. That’s where I made a mistake. If I’d have been, I know, I know as you’ve just said it’s wise in hindsight, I regret that I’d not kept a more detailed. If I’d kept a diary.
MS: Yeah.
HH: A daily diary right from the days when I could start to write it would have been extremely interesting now. Not just for the war but the rest of my life. But I didn’t. Full stop. All I’ve got is what stored in my mind you see. I had, I had loads and loads of books during the war, and magazines used to come out. But I got rid of them all and again I regret. I regret that now, you see. And, but yeah, it was a good say, you could also pick pieces of, well we called it Perspex, but it was like the stuff round the windscreens and things but you could, you could, you could hot your poker in the fire because we had open fires and pokers in them days, just simply push it through like. Then you could smooth it off a bit, and then cut it out and make a ring of it. Loads of, loads of the gals in the village used to ring, ring something what they’d made out of aircraft. We used to call it Perspex. I don’t know if that was the right name but what had been blown out the sky. Yeah. All sorts of things lying around. Ok, it became dangerous to pick stuff up because then the Germans started dropping, well dummies. Dummy bombs, didn’t they? Grimsby for instance. They dropped, they dropped stuff on there one night and they looked like pens and things, and if you picked them up they exploded. Blew your hand off.
MS: [unclear] yeah.
HH: Which a lot of people —
MS: Yeah.
HH: And especially kids got, well they got injured for life with picking these. Picking these things up. So you had to be very careful what you picked up. Another thing that used to be banded about a lot was occasionally a German aircraft would come over dropping leaflets, propaganda leaflets telling us how well they was, going on and how bad our army was doing abroad and how the cities was thriving in Germany and how our cities was getting bombed that we didn’t hear about, and you know, put doubts in your mind. Again, I should have saved some of that. And then, and then our own aircraft. Was it our own aircraft used to come and drop this foil, strips of foil?
MS: Chaff. Chaff they used to call it.
HH: Did you call it?
MS: Chaff and Windows.
HH: Yeah. Window. Window.
MS: Window. Yeah.
HH: Silver paper strips if you like.
MS: That’s it.
HH: Stronger than that to, well, it used to interfere with the radios didn’t it?
MS: Yeah.
HH: And things like that. What was it ours that did that?
MS: We, we used it. Definitely. I don’t know if the Germans did.
HH: No. No. No.
MS: But it was to fool night fighters.
HH: There was a reason. But we used to pick that up. It used to be all over the place sometimes. Blowing all over the place it did like. Yeah. And then of course, Stenigot. They had their, was it a ray [pause] was it radar in them days? System with the big dishes on.
MS: Yeah.
HH: The dishes are still there but they’re laid in the field at Stenigot. I don’t know if you’ve —
MS: Are they? Oh, right.
HH: Unless they’ve been moved over the last year or two. They might have been.
MS: Oh yeah. Well.
HH: But they were taken down and they were laid there for ages and in fact there was only a bit on the television one night this week about Stenigot, and the radar station there because they found that they’d taken a drone over it and found places where there was underground stuff that they didn’t know about.
MS: Right. You’ve got me interested.
HH: But that’s the by the by —
MS: It’s all interesting but that’s of particular interest to me. Yeah.
HH: Oh right. Yeah. And then, and then as I say I’ve, I’ve done the glider. Oh, and as the war went on we, we, and especially leading up to D-Day for some, some reason or other leading up to D-Day we got a lot of Army activity round here. Convoys. There would be convoys and they’d be going past for, for at least half an hour, you know. A lot of trucks.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And, and sometimes they would come past in the dark. I think they was practising. I think they was mainly practice before they took off down south to get on the boats, and apparently the trucks, of course you didn’t have anybody that had cars or vehicles. You didn’t have headlights on them of course. Well, you did but they was very very well camouflaged and you could only see a little bit of road. But these convoys they didn’t. They didn’t, they had a spotlight. You maybe know this. On the front of the —
MS: No.
HH: On the front of the wagon when they were in convoys they had a light underneath, we’ll say underneath the front wheels and on the back of the vehicle in front there would be a white disc underneath and, and the idea was that light you just followed that white disc so from the air you could, in theory you couldn’t see anything.
MS: How clever.
HH: Yeah. It was clever.
MS: I had no idea.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
MS: Right.
HH: That was the Army that was.
MS: Yeah. The Air Force must have thought of it [yeah]
H: Well, of course they would [laughs] Yeah. Like they did with the dams.
MS: Yeah.
HH: When, when the commander was at the Palladium watching that. That was that original story. Whether it was true or not some people are denying that now. But anyway, it worked, didn’t it?
MS: Yeah.
HH: I would have liked to have seen. I always wanted to visit the dams but I don’t think I shall get across to them now. But generally speaking that’s how it was. And then as I got, I left school at fourteen I was the last group of pupils to leave at fourteen. Then it went up to fifteen, school leaving age and of course it’s gone up to well some of them are thirty now before they leave [laughs] And I left at fourteen and I worked. I was waiting to go in to the building trade, but couldn’t get in straight away and whilst I was waiting I went and got a job down on a farm at Branston Booths.
MS: Just down the road.
HH: Yeah. Which would be significant in a minute I’m telling you too. Now, Branston Booths, it’s all wide-open country in those Fens and, and this would be, well 1947 that would be, I think. When I left school. ’47. No, it might have been even earlier than that. ’46. Fourteen. Yeah. It would be. Yeah. It was, it was earlier than that because the prisoners of war. The German prisoners of war were still here, and there was a German prisoner of war camp at, well it was Potterhanworth but it was nearer Branston Booths than Potterhanworth.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Right. And they used to come out and work on the farms the prisoners did, and I worked with them with the other fellas of course and obviously they were, well to us they were Germans but they were decent chaps. They were a lot of them poor fellas had no family left. They had nowhere to go back to because we’d cleaned their properties out like but having said that they never, they never come across, they worked with us as ordinary people. You know what I mean?
MS: Yes.
HH: Never come across that they were our enemy or vice versa, but we worked down in the fields at, at Branston Booths. Now, during the war there was a dummy airfield there.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And a dummy airfield probably you’ll know was just something to distract any planes that were coming over that were looking for targets.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And there was a, when I say a dugout it was partly in the ground and a bit of a construction and the rest of it was buried in the soil that they’d dug out. And apparently it was manned by about three or four people at a time and they would construct these well, from the air they looked like aircraft and they would place them at strategical points in these fields. And also, if there was an enemy aircraft about, they would discreetly, accidentally light one of them up. And, and, and many and many a time my dad and I, we’ve said, ‘Oh, they’re bombing the Booths tonight. They would see these and you could hear, because they would be maybe two aircraft, maybe one aircraft come up later on in the war just to annoy us like.
MS: Yeah.
HH: When we’d got the better of them. But they, they would just be looking for anything to drop the bombs anywhere. Anyway, you would hear them circle and you could nearly feel what, what the pilots and the aircrew were, oh there’s a light down there. Right. Oh, an aircraft. You know, you could read their mind. They would circle down and then you could hear the bombs. They would drop the bombs like and then and then these, these people that were manning it they had, they had a method of lighting some fires which made it look as though they had been doing. Oh, and they would blast the hell out of it until the bomb bay was empty you see and, but they might, I oftens wonder how many bombs there are in those fields that didn’t actually explode because —
MS: It's very soft.
HH: The ground is very soft down there, and they’d go down but I’ve never heard of any incidents.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Or anybody finding them but they wouldn’t plough as deep as that like. But that was, that was a dummy airfield and I’ve worked on that and I’ve worked with the, with the German prisoners of war. And I worked with one later on, later on he had stopped here because he’d nowhere to go back, but he was, he was a Nazi. Nazi. Self-confessed Nazi and he was a nasty man, and he used to delight in telling us the story he was in the building trade with us but he used to have a way of telling stories to upset us. Even way after the war on how he had raped women and how he had tortured people and horrible stories like that and I refused to work with him. I said, ‘No. I’m not working with a character like that.’ I said, ‘It shouldn’t be allowed.’ But, and the foreman he kept him from me like but I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t work with him because he was one of these he’d been in the Nazi youth and he’d had it imprinted in his mind that if you wasn’t a true German. You was —
MS: Nobody.
HH: You was vermin.
MS: Yeah.
HH: To them, anybody else was vermin that wasn’t a German, and we were to him and yet we were giving him a job. But I, I wouldn’t tolerate him.
MS: When was this? What years was this?
HH: This would be, this would be later on. 19 — this would be, oh after I was married. ’57 time. 1957.
MS: Really? As late as that.
HH: Yeah. And of course, he was still there and he never got it out of his mind you see. And yet our people, well I suppose from a human rights point of view they didn’t have to drop to the level that he was suppose if you look at it like that and they employed him. But he was a nasty character. I’d never trust him. I always thought if he got you on his own and he could do something nasty like. That’s how I felt about him, and [pause] But another connection, well just coming back to, to the action during the war and following the flight of that airship which I mentioned early.
MS: Oh yeah.
HH: The infamous Coventry raid when Coventry was —
MS: Oh yeah.
HH: And it was.
MS: Flattened.
HH: Terrible. That was, that was the, I think that was the first major raid of any consequence. London had, London had got it but they’d done the docks and that, hadn’t they in London mainly. But they had, they had gone for residential in Coventry a lot as well and, and when they bombed Coventry it was, it provoked us into doing something more drastic over there didn’t it? In to Germany. And it was a moonlight night, and again my dad and I were against at the gate and a he said, a lot of aircraft started coming up this route, and they were enemy aircraft. We could see them. A moonlight night. We could see the crosses on them, and the Swastikas and things like that and not, not all that high. They weren’t particularly low but they were well visible.
MS: Yeah. Sure.
HH: And they were coming up. I don’t know for how long but it seemed ages in to the night. Of course, we didn’t know where they were going except when they got to Lincoln they were heading more south rather than north and my dad said, ‘The Midlands are getting it tonight lad.’ He said, ‘Somebody down there. Again, we shall have to listen to the wireless in the morning.’ And of course, it was poor old Coventry. But there was wave after wave of enemy aircraft that night unopposed. None of our fighters about at all because there was far too many of them because it was early on in the war and we hadn’t, we hadn’t got going. What fighters there was, was down, mainly down south you see. We just hadn’t enough to stop them, and yeah it was a strange experience that, seeing all these enemy aircraft. I know, a comment that my father made which, well you could say it was selfish if you like but he says, ‘I’m pleased it’s not Lincoln. I’m pleased they’re going over Lincoln.’ You know. But someone else was copping it wasn’t it?
MS: Yeah.
HH: But, and, and, and when, when they used to, Hull got bombed quite badly. Do you know we could see the reflection of the fires?
MS: From here.
HH: Absolutely due north from here. We could see the glow in the sky. The sky, on a really dark night you know you could see the glow in the sky of, of and we used to say, ‘Oh, Hull’s getting it tonight,’ you know when they got some of the bad raids. Yeah. Yeah. And, and things like that. So, yeah and we could, we could tell. The Coventry was the, was the biggest raid that we saw, but quite often in those early years of the war when they were bombing our cities, you know that’s the route they would take coming over the Wash. Of course, there was, well when I say they were coming in from France they was coming, I mean if they were coming from France they’d maybe come over the south. But the theory was for the Coventry raid that they’d come in one way and out the other way. Back to France you see. You know. Did a circle because they mainly bombed it from France because France was occupied by that time, wasn’t it?
MS: Yeah.
HH: And it’s not far from France is it? But that’s how it was. That’s how I remember the raids. And Lincoln. Lincoln did get attacked but nothing to the extent that the cities were bombed. The figures were, again I don’t know how accurate this is but the figures were that there was forty aircraft sent to bomb the factories in Lincoln because we had quite an industrial city at one time. Not compared with Sheffield or anything like that but it was an industrial city and the, the figures that I’ve read was that there was forty aircraft set off to bomb the factories in Lincoln but by that time we had got sufficient aircraft and, and stuff to counter them and there was only seven got through. But they did, well they did enough damage, but didn’t do too much damage. If they dropped one bomb they’d done too much damage. There was one or two houses destroyed. Which I could take you to some now that’s been rebuilt and things like that.
MS: Dixon Street.
HH: Dixon Street’s a classic. Yeah. Another in Avondale Street off Monks Road.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Places like that and, and there was, there was some incendiaries, or I think they called them phosphorous bombs. They’re like an incendiary but you put the fire out. Then when they dried out, they flare out again or something. And that dropped into one of the shops in Silver Street and they had two or three days where they was trying to control it like, and things like that. But nothing ever so major if you know what I mean compared with, with other things. Only the isolated, if, if, if an aircraft come over and he had a few bombs left, he would maybe just drop one somewhere and things like that but, oh quite often in Lincolnshire, you know the beggars they would pick a, excuse me they would pick a farm out. Pick a farmhouse out and drop a bomb on a farmhouse. Several farms was, was destroyed like that but just to destroy morale.
MS: Yeah. Good idea.
HH: That’s what it got doing the latter part of the war which was, which was nasty that was you know because they didn’t contribute very little to the war except to the food you see which was irrelevant really, putting one farm out, was it? And then you didn’t destroy the fields.
MS: No. Somebody was still working them.
HH: But as I say it was to do with destroying morale you see, wasn’t it? Obviously, during the war, if an aircraft come over you just wondered what it was going to do to you because another comical, well not comical but peculiar incidents that happened in Washingborough, it came where they invented these barrage balloons. Barrage balloons. And they used to launch these barrage balloons. I don’t think they was ever very effective really because the aircraft went above them or shot them down, didn’t they? And they would occasionally break loose, because they were mostly mounted on a lorry.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And then just let up on this coil, and apparently one broke loose somewhere just, I don’t know where it broke loose but it was trailing its cable, and it was one in a million but the cable came right across the church at Washingborough and it took the flagpole off. Damaged the flagpole, and I think it dropped it. But this cable come across the church and trailed across the village and that was, you know not enemy damage. It was —
MS: Collateral.
HH: It was friendly damage that one, as they call it. Yeah. But little incidents like that you see. And, and then as I, I’d have a [unclear] but then I left school at fourteen and went down to work as I’ve just told you then. Then I got in the building trade and we was engaged, my first job was engaged on, on building, rebuilding two pair of houses in Highfield Avenue, Lincoln which a Lancaster from, I don’t know whether it was Swinderby or, one if the bases. Or Wigsley. Where it had come from and it didn’t get up and it crashed. Took the top off one pair of houses and crashed in to the one the other side of the street and it killed, there was fatalities there. In fact, it was only in the paper about it recently and I’ve got it here. That, that was it. That was it. Oh, it says ten killed there. Well, it would be the crew as well you see, wasn’t it?
MS: There was a young girl killed.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. That one. And I worked, that was my first job working rebuilding those houses that had been knocked down during the war at Highfield Avenue. Yeah. And, and, and another job that I’m proud of that I’ve done related to the war was I, me and another fella erected a War Graves Commission Memorial Cross in Scampton Churchyard.
MS: Right.
HH: There’s a, there’s a stone cross in Scampton Churchyard, and I and another fella erected that while I was an apprentice and of course as you know there are quite a lot of war graves in Scampton Churchyard. But I often look at that Memorial. Well, I always looked at it when I went past like, so yes. I’ve had my connections indirectly with what’s gone on. Well, if you live in Lincolnshire, you really can’t help but have some sort of direct.
MS: You also had a direct connection as well. Being fired on was direct.
HH: I know. I know. I know.
MS: You could call it a direct.
HH: Well, yeah. Yeah. That was the nearest we had come. And, and of course I’ve worked on not many of the airfields but I’ve worked at Waddington quite a bit and I’ve worked at Scampton. And then when Dunholme Lodge had finished it was changed. They took the buildings over for some agricultural purposes, for analysing seeds and things like and we did quite a bit of work on, on, on Dunholme Lodge like. But apart from that I’ve not really been connected with any of the other airfields around here. Although having said that I go past them a lot because I’ve a habit. I have a friend that I go out with and she’s quite interested in this sort of thing. She’s not quite as old as me. Having said that there aren’t many people that are these days but that’s by the by.
MS: There’s more and more actually. We’re all living longer.
HH: We like, she’s interested, even though she’s not a Lincolnshire lady she came up here thirty years ago but she’s very intrigued in what happened with the airfields during the war.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And we’ll, we’ll, I’ll take her past airfields, having a look at airfields and if, if we’re about we’ll, we’ll suss out where there’s a Memorial to an airfield. There’s one very discreetly on the roadside for Kelstern Airfield, which it’s no longer there. You wouldn’t know it was there unless you knew where to look and, and an old map was pointing it out but they were very nicely, there’s a crossroads there, and they very nicely put a War Memorial on these crossroads and it’s nicely looked after to this day and we go and have a look at that sometimes. And there’s another one at Metheringham. We often come across Metheringham Airfield.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Because it’s still very much the runways and the perimeter track there. The main runway’s still there and we’ll, we’ll go to Ruskington and our favourite ride back from Ruskington Garden Centre is to come through the ford at Kirkby Green, and then we’ll drop off and come, come across Metheringham Airfield. Drop as though we’re going into Martin and then cut in to the airfield. Come around the peri track, and we nearly always stop and look at the Memorial which is on our right as we’re travelling up. Lovely Memorial. And again, its well maintained.
MS: Is that by a T-junction. Is the Memorial by a T-junction or a crossroads?
HH: No. It’s, it’s halfway down the eastern side of the peri track.
MS: Right.
HH: On, on the eastern side of the peritrack.
MS: I’m with you.
HH: And it’s a very nicely constructed Memorial, and it was 106 Squadron I think at Metheringham. They were there nearly all the time I think at Metheringham. Again, I can remember that airfield being constructed because I had an uncle, my mother’s brother lived down Blankney Fen, well, at the top end of Blankney Fen and he was only a field away where he lived at a farm. Only a field away from the airfield. And we went over in the holidays once. We used to bike. Bike from here to Metheringham, well, Blankney and went over on our cycles, and he says, ‘Oh,’ he says, we heard all this machinery, he said, ‘Yes, they tell me they’re building an aerodrome up there,’ as they used to call it in those days. An aerodrome. Anyway, we had a walk across these fields and all the diggers was there and they was all laying the runways out.
MS: It didn’t take them long.
HH: I can remember that being constructed, you see.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And, and its, very evident that a lot of it is still there. The peritrack. A lot of the peritrack, and the main runway which is the road from Blankney Fen up to the road joining Walcot and Metheringham.
MS: Oh.
HH: Yeah. And we, my friend and I will get, will get on the end of this runway and ok it’s just a tarmac strip down the middle of the runway but it’s still the same width. Still. They’ve not taking the concrete up and I’ll sometimes say, ‘Right. I’ll rev my engines up. Get ready for take-off. Don’t worry about seat belts because the Lancaster didn’t have them like. Just make sure where your parachute is.’ Joking. I know you shouldn’t joke but that’s what we did.
MS: No. Of course, you can joke.
HH: You see, and then we’ll go and I’ll say, ‘Right. We would be leaving the ground,’ and I used to say now if we was, if we was unlucky that was the last time we touched the ground.’ It all comes back to you, doesn’t it?
MS: It makes you think.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. And of course, there’s the famous ghost stories isn’t there of the airfields? Have you read any?
MS: Go on then.
HH: Oh, there’s loads of ghost stories and, and there’s a brilliant one about Metheringham. And of course, I mean it wasn’t all gloom and doom on the airfields. They used to have a bit of a knees up now and again didn’t they? In the NAAFIs and —
MS: Oh yeah.
HH: And the messes and things like that. And, and if they was having a dance on the airfield they would, there would be buses running from Lincoln just, just with girls in going to the dance with the, you know for the airmen to dance. But there was this particular story that this airman got friendly with a girl from Woodhall, and even her address where she lived at Woodhall has been published. It’s only what I’ve read this is but a lot of people talked about it as well and she, he used to fetch her up from Woodhall on his motorbike. Right. And they’d been up to a bit of a knees up one night and I don’t know whether it was icy or what it was but they got travelling and he didn’t, he hadn’t got off, he hadn’t got off the airfield and his bike went from under him and it resulted in, it killed her anyway. It killed his girlfriend. But the story is that that girl where the incident happened has been seen by quite a few different people since. And a lot of people, well a lot, a few people that’s talked about it. They’d been going along this runway that I’ve talked about and I’ve been looking for them but you don’t see them if you look for them, do you? This this body will appear and it’ll be thumbing. People’s actually pulled up to speak to this girl and then she’s disappeared and and several different people have said it’s the same description from all the people that have seen her.
MS: What airfield’s that?
HH: Metheringham.
MS: Metheringham Airfield.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve got a series of books on, “Ghost Stations,” they’re called. A series of about six of them. I’ve got about four or five of them anyway, and all these stories. Nearly all the stations have got stories of they can hear, they can hear Lancaster engines at certain times during the night and things like that.
MS: There’s one, that’s supposed to be true of Fiskerton, isn’t it?
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Fiskerton. There’s one at Fiskerton where a jeep runs up the runways. A vehicle with airmen in at a certain time and a certain day. And also there’s another one from [pause] not Redbourne. What’s the one near Redbourne Airfield? Redbourne. Near Redbourne where they, where they go parachute jumping from there now but the —
MS: Not Langar. It’s not Langar, is it?
HH: No. No. But Hibaldstow.
MS: Oh, Hibaldstow, Redbourne.
HH: Hibaldstow is the one.
MS: Yeah. Yeah.
HH: Somebody bought the control tower there. Converted it into a residence, of course as several did but, and they, doorways altered, doorways bricked up and things like that. But the people that went to live in there they started to see airmen fully clothed. Fully clothed airmen. They would, they would come out where the doorways was bricked up.
MS: Where they were.
HH: Where they were. And reappear. And it didn’t put them off. They accepted it. Yeah. Things like that. And of course, the pub at, the pub one of the pubs at Welton, that’s a classic that is because there’s an aircrew. There’s an aircrew been known to go in there and they’ve even conversed with them, people have. Even people like religious men and parsons and things like that. And, and they’ve conversed with them and it’s a crew that went off one night and of course got shot down but the souls came back as you might say. So how true they are or what you have your own mind on that. I’ve an open mind on that sort of thing because I’ve never really witnessed anything to prove that there is such a thing but I don’t disbelieve it because there’s so many people and people far more educated than I am that talk about these things. So there must be something in it you see. And then of course there’s the one, the famous one at Hemswell as well where they can hear somebody drops a spanner during the night. Where they would be working on an aircraft in the hangar and then all of a sudden somebody has dropped a spanner and you know how that would rattle in a hangar at night.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And lights will come on. Lights will come on and they never have fathomed out the reason why the lights come on in the hangars at Hemswell at nights. Whether they still do or what I don’t know. But that’s the aftermath of the war in Lincolnshire, isn’t it?
MS: It is. Now then, we are coming towards the end.
HH: Yeah. We are indeed coming towards the end.
MS: And it’s, I’m right in saying that after the war you went into the building trade and also then you were conscripted.
HH: Yes, I was in the building trade. I learned my trade as an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships were seven years at that time so I was deferred until I was twenty one. If you wasn’t in a, in a trade you went in at eighteen but if you was in a trade you were deferred until you were twenty one, so I went in when I was twenty one. 4th of August 1953. I joined up at RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire, was kitted out there and then we went off up to Wilmslow to do our square bashing as we call it. And then we went down to a place called Church Lawford. Well, you know where Wilmslow is in Cheshire I suppose, being a Manchester man.
MS: Well, I was born in Cheshire as it was then.
HH: Oh right. I’ll come back to that then later.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And then I went down to a place called Church Lawford. An ex, an ex-flying station, for trade training which was just basic training to, one of the comical things down there what I’ve never really understood why they wasted time doing this, they taught us how to use a pick. Now, you can either use a pick or you can’t, and if you hit your foot with it you know you were using it wrong and you learned from there. But they taught us how to use a pick. There’s an RAF way of using a pick.
MS: Is that right?
HH: Yes.
MS: I had no idea.
HH: Yeah. But there you go [laughs] they had to do something.
MS: I shall have to ask you about it afterwards.
HH: They had to do something to use the time up. But then while we were there, we were waiting for postings, you see.
MS: Are you still comfortable?
HH: Well as comfortable as —
MS: Well, listen we’ll give —
HH: I’m alright. I’m alright.
MS: Give it a couple more minutes and then that’ll be it alright.
HH: I’ll finish. Yeah. I’ll finish. Then we, we got our postings and we, we, we got a posting. They said, ‘Right, you’re going to be posted abroad to the Canal Zone in Egypt.’ That’s, that’s all we knew. So, one day we had to be, there was oh I don’t know how many of us there was that went that particular day. About twenty of us I should think and we, we had to go for our injections.
MS: Yeah.
HH: And we had to go from Church Lawford to, which is near, between Coventry and Rugby. But we had to go to, is it Cosforth at Wolverhampton?
MS: Cosford.
HH: Cosford. Wolverhampton.
MS: Cosford. RAF Cosford. Yeah.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. We had to go there and they, they didn’t give us, they didn’t give us a pack. They gave us money to buy stuff on the train because they took us down to the station at Rugby. Put us on a train there to Wolverhampton and then from, I think we had to change at Wolverhampton to go to the Cosford but they said, ‘You can get your food on the train,’ and they gave us a shilling. We had to line up the morning before we went, before the officer. He had his little desk out. Salute him. ‘247 Harvey, sir.’ You know. ‘Here’s your shilling.’ I’ve still got that shilling. 1953 on it.
MS: You’ve got it.
HH: I don’t, I can’t, I can’t lay my hands on it now. In fact, I might have even given my granddaughter it, but I didn’t spend it.
MS: What was your service number?
HH: It was 2700.
MS: Yeah.
HH: 247.
MS: Ok. Was there a letter before it or was that just it?
HH: No. No. That was it.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Just simply 2700. At that time it was AC. AC2, Harvey. I rose to the ranks of LAC [laughs] If I’d stayed in I could have possibly got two stripes but I wasn’t interested in staying in. I sometimes, I wish I had have done but that’s by the by. And then from, from where had we got to? Oh yeah. Church Lawford. Then one day they said, ‘Right. You’re going up to Lytham St Anne’s,’ which was a, I forgot the name now where you all waited for your, for your postings.
MS: Up in Lancashire.
HH: Yeah. Up in Lancashire. Yeah. Not far from Blackpool. We had a few nights up there, and then away we went off to Egypt and landed at a place called Fayid which was the main air base. Everything landed at Fayid in Egypt and then we was bumped off to a camp called El Amiriya and I spent nineteen months on this camp at El Amiriya and we used to, we used to go around different parts of the Canal Zone doing whatever wanted doing on married quarters at other camps or, I was posted three. Oh, no. We used to come back at night, I think. Yeah. Yeah. We used to come back at night. A bit further down the Canal Zone there was a camp with all Kenyan people on. Very, very dark people. And they had just had, they had just had water put on to the camp. Piped water so there was stop taps at various places. Myself and another lad, we had a job going and building brick pits and putting a top on where these stop taps was. Now that, that was quite a nice job that was. We was there three weeks. Now, when we got there there was an Army captain, British Army captain in charge of the camp but he wasn’t resident. There the highest rank was, well you would say a warrant officer was in the, if it, if it was a RAF man. Non commissioned. That’s the highest non-commissioned, isn’t it? Am I right?
MS: Yes.
HH: Yeah. And, and he dined in the sergeant’s mess, and he had three sergeants. Six sergeants. Three either side of him. Now, they invited us to dine for lunch and, and breaks to, to dine with them but we sat at each side at the end of these three, and this, this head of the camp he was a tribesman back in Kenya. He’d got facial markings.
MS: The scars.
HH: Scars. Yeah. But he couldn’t speak English, but they had the Canal Zone interpreter that he went to any meetings, big meetings relayed in English and them. He went to the meetings, in to, so we used to speak through him. Wonderful fellow. We became quite friendly with him.
MS: Yeah.
HH: Friendly to the point where he said to us one day, ‘Have you any leave left?’ ‘Yeah. We haven’t used any of it yet.’ ‘See your commanding officer if you can get a fortnight’s leave. I’ll take you to Nairobi where I live and I’ll show you a little bit of Kenya.’
MS: Did you go there?
HH: No. We, we made an appointment with our commanding officer. In fact, he’d been in touch with him this, this sergeant had. And he was very accommodating our commanding officer and he says, ‘Yeah.’ He says, ‘I know what you’ve come for airmen.’ He says, ‘But I cannot grant you permission to go there,’ he says, ‘Because it’s not a recognised leave destination.’ He says, ‘We have our own leave destinations like if you want to go off on leave you go to Famagusta in Cyprus. Somewhere like that,’ he says, ‘And if anything happens to you there,’ he says, ‘I’m responsible for you and I’ve let you go somewhere, if you like out of bounds.’ So, he says ‘I can’t grant you.’ So, we never got unfortunately.
MS: Right.
HH: But that was, that would have been a good experience that would, wouldn’t it?
MS: It would.
HH: And then, I was there, and I stayed there until we was demobbed. I come home on a, I come home on a, on a troop ship. There was sixteen RAF lads on this troop ship, and we came home with the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment that had been out there and they filled the ship except for sixteen berths. And I happened to be coming and I filled one of those berths. Lovely. A trip through the Med in August. What can you, eleven days it took us.
MS: What a way to finish your service.
HH: We docked. We docked at what do you come to first? Malta. We docked at Malta, and we docked at Gibraltar. The captain even let us ashore at Gib. At Gib. Yeah. And we had enough hours to go up the Rock.
MS: Did you not go off at Malta?
HH: No.
MS: Really?
HH: Because we only stopped for sort of refuelling and taking supplies and we hadn’t enough time. But there was all these maybe you’ve experienced, as soon as you pull into a dock with a big ship like that, all these little boats come around and try and flog you things and doing all sorts of things if you throw them a coin down. Lovely experience.
MS: It is actually. Listen. We’re going to draw a line under this.
HH: Yeah. Well, I’ve quite enjoyed that. I hope I’ve been some use and not bored you too much.
MS: Well, you have not bored me. I’ve learned a lot and before we go into the technical stuff. It’s not technical stuff, I’ve got to thank you. I don’t mean I’ve got to thank you. I am thanking you. Right. It’s been, it’s been fantastic. I’ve been listening to what you’ve experienced. I didn’t expect to meet anybody who’d been actually fired on by machine gun when they were a child. And the rest of it together is gold. It’s wonderful.
HH: Yeah.
MS: I did say earlier you’ll, you will get a copy of this interview.
HH: Yeah. Lovely. I would appreciate that.
MS: You will.
HH: Yeah.
MS: Can I just take you through some stuff that’s sort of, it’s not legal, it’s, but it’s important I take you through it. First of all, you’ve consented to take part in the interview, and in a minute you’re going to sign that you consented —
HH: All right
MS: To take part.
HH: All right.
MS: And do you agree that your name, not your personal details can be publicly associated with the interview?
HH: Yes, of course.
MS: Ok. I’ll tick that off.
HH: Of course.
MS: Yeah. The rest. Any personal details like your address and stuff like that will be stored totally privately.
HH: Yes.
MS: Do you grant me permission to take your photograph?
HH: Yes.
MS: Thank you.
HH: Yes.
MS: Right. That will be on line for the IBCC Archives.
HH: Oh right. Yeah.
MS: It’s being made up at the moment. Before I go, I’ll give you a link for your daughters to look, and eventually your picture and your interview will appear on that Digital Archive.
HH: Yeah.
MS: So, anybody anywhere in the world can actually get hold of it.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
MS: And you agree to the interview being made available online
HH: Yes.
MS: On the computer. Ok. Yeah.
HH: Yeah.
MS: The Archive is basically going to look after your material. It’s an important Archive.
HH: Yeah.
MS: Which is going forward into the future. I’m just paraphrasing what’s here now and it will go to all available media.
HH: All right.
MS: And it’s for educational purposes and historical purposes.
HH: Very good.
MS: So, on behalf of the Archive I’m thanking you for that. Now, if you’re happy that what I’ve said is right would you mind signing where I’ve put a cross there?
HH: I will. I’ll sign that. Yeah.
MS: Thank you, sir. Oh sorry. Up there. That’s it. I’m now going to end the interview at eight minutes past twelve. We’ve done well. That’s nearly two hours.
HH: Thank you very much indeed.
MS: You’re more than welcome.



Michael Sheehan, “Interview with Harold Harvey,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 4, 2022,

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