It was almost fun...I was never scared

Essex County Standard: Fun: Nigel Austin. Fun: Nigel Austin.

Nigel Austin does not ever remember being scared during the war.

That is despite the devastation he saw around him as a result of bombings, when he was just a child.

Mr Austin, now 78, remembers: “The Williams and Griffin dispensary at the end of St John’s Street was flattened.

“Mosaics would come loose from the front of shops when they’d been bombed and we’d take them and play with them.”

He enjoyed sitting in the air raid shelter at the boys’ high school in Wellesley Road – which later became Colchester High School.

“It was dug out from the school into the grounds,” said Mr Austin, who lives in Hare Green, Great Bromley.

“We’d have to go during air raids and would sing songs like You Are My Sunshine.

“It was almost fun – I was never really scared.”

He added: “You could have fun during the war, like when you got four buns for one bread coupon.

“You then sold the buns for a profit.

“When planes came down with live ammunition, we would take it and make fireworks with it.”

Mr Austin also remembers how public transport suffered as a result of the war.

“Buses were filled on sawdust gas rather than petrol,” he said.

“Robinsons Engineering Firm in Hospital Road made the cylinders which produced the gas.

“It wasn't very efficient and the bus was often two hours late.

“If the bus was going up a hill, people would have to get out and walk.”

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