If you get a sec watch We’re Doomed, which is a drama about the making of Dad’s Army – aired originally last night – now available on iPlayer.
My own dad was 80 this year, probably a bit older than most of your dads; he was born the year that war broke out and when he was 7, walking home from somewhere where he grew up in Erith, Kent, a Messerschmitt, also on its way back home, chased him down next to a railway siding and unloaded a lot of unused ammunition at him.
My dad ran and ran – he ran for his life – and was, as it happens, leapt upon by two loitering Home Guard officers who fell upon this small bespectacled boy, to protect him from the the armed warplane, with no thought for their own safety. They all escaped undamaged. True story. You ought to hear dad tell it – your hair on the back of your neck will stand up.
So the Second World War was no distant memory in the Walker household of the 1980s – it was a real, living and breathing thing. And Dad’s Army was on, all the time. I watched it a lot with my parents; I can’t think that I can possibly have understood it or thought it was funny but I hold it in complete and deep affection.
We didn’t hate the Germans in my house, by the way. Nor the Japanese, nor the Russians. That’s the thing about my Dad – we were taught to be cold rationalists and to always respect market forces. You may detect some of it in my prose here and elsewhere.
Anyway, We’re Doomed is, to my mind, a magical piece of telly. So, as I said, watch it if you get a sec. And mind out for those Messerschmitts -real, or metaphorical.
My dad is only a couple of years younger than yours, the war wasn’t history in our house either. He was briefly evacuated to the Lake district and has a chilling account of hearing the noise of the doodbug suddenly stop, and a house down the road being obliterated. Missed this but will look it up later x
My Dad, who died earlier this year was the same age as yours. He always said that the sound of civilian aircraft overhead all through his life made him think “We are at peace” as they weren’t allowed to fly during the war. He had lots of tales of life during the war, none as hair raising as your Dad’s though.
They’re ALL hair-raising if you ask me. I mean, just imagine…
I don’t think we can ever appreciate what it was really like living as we do now. There were some lovely stories as well though, my Dad’s Aunt got married during the war and they were given special permission (by the Head of the Home Guard!) to ring the village church bells for the wedding, the only time during the six years of war that they weren’t silent, imagine that!
I love that story
Hi, you’ve just described my childhood. Everybody talking about the war and Dad’s Army on all the time. My parents and their 7 siblings were all either evacuated from London or were in the services. My auntie was a Land Girl, partied with GIs and by all accounts had a lovely time. Last night’s programme was very evocative and both enjoyable and a bit sad. Love your blog. It’s the only one I regularly read.
Alison thank you for this comment. All other things aside I would have made a terrific Land Girl. Sometimes I dress the part with nowhere to go. Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas xx