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Children laid out on pavement in air raid drills
12:20pm Friday 11th September 2009 in Your Second World War Memories
While fathers and brothers were on foreign shores fighting, children were having their own wartime experiences back at home.
Geoff Wiseman was aged about nine when a civil defence exercise took place in Colchester in the early 1940s.
A family friend, who was a member of the air raid precautions team, was looking for volunteers to pretend to be casualties. Mr Wiseman said: “I decided to have a go.
“I was living in Goring Road at the time, and several of my friends and I were laid out on the pavement, each of us with a label attached denoting our injuries.
“When ambulances arrived, we were laid on stretchers and driven to St Mary’s Hospital, on Balkerne Hill.”
The volunteers were then “assessed” by a doctor before being sent to the relevant hospital department.
“Panic set in when I was ‘sent’ to the operating theatre, to have a leg amputated,” remembered Mr Wiseman, who now lives in Old Heath Road in the town “After being reassured that my leg was safe, we were all given a cup of tea and a biscuit and taken back home.”
Mr Wiseman also found himself in trouble during the war, when he and a friend discovered wreckage from a German plane in a council dump near the Hythe.
“Upon close inspection of the wreckage we thought we’d found an incendiary bomb,” he said.
“We hurried back into town and went to the police station to report the find.
“The desk policeman asked us to call at an address in Old Heath, where an off duty policeman lived, and show him what we had found.
“We arrived at the address, just as the policeman was sitting down to his meal. He came with us straight away, leaving his meal on the table.”
The boys took the officer to see the wreckage, and it was ascertained that the “bomb” was just the casing from a burnt-out incendiary bomb.