It was a very sad time, there were so many of the young boys that are gone were killed, their memorials are in St Peter’s church. Mrs Wiggins had one son killed, that was our neighbour, and she had one son who was a prisoner and the other one was burned with liquid gas. It was a very sad time, and I lost my brother, he was there four years to the day, the first royal garrison to go out of the country to a war and he was killed September 27th 1918 and almost to the minute that he set foot in France.
This was a big military area, loads of troops about and some of the big houses were taken over as billets. I well remember in Kingsbury Street, what is now known as Dormy House, was taken over by one of the big military bands; and several places up on the edge of the common where Mr Gordon Richards’ brother Cliff Richards used to live, his house was commandeered for troops.
My war years were really confined to Marlborough and looking after a baby. The City of London School was evacuated to Marlborough and my war contribution was to share my home with a City of London Master and his wife. The catering was difficult because of rationing, but we were very lucky really in Marlborough we didn’t really go short of very much.
Then we had the Americans come here, they were billeted above the Conservative Club, they used to go off for their meals, line up outside the club and go off then to the Scout Hall.
Savernake Forest was out of bounds then because it was a giant ammunition dump, a train blew up there after the war when they were clearing it. And also the common was a giant American air force hospital so there was loads of activity coming and going there, from the Ramsbury Airfield there was always people being brought back up there, that was out of bounds to people. That took up practically all the common, I cannot remember the golf course actually being there, I think it was taken over for the war effort at that time, because where the clump is now on the common was a big water tank high on a tower.
There was a big American hospital on the common, all Nissen huts and all the boys from the D Day operation they used to come up to Marlborough Station and unload them there and take them up there to the Common. My mother and sisters used to go up there voluntarily and work for them, it was quite a big hospital and there was a lot of casualties went up there after D Day.
We had a church fellowship at the RAF and used to come to Marlborough about 40 of us and we used to book a meal at the Merlin which had a big room there, and the proprietor used to find all sorts of things to make the meal with because it was during the war. We used to go for a walk and come back to the Merlin and have our tea. Some of us used to walk back to Yatesbury and some of us went back on the bus.
Static water tanks were visible one either end of the car park in the High Street, these were giant tanks which held as I said static water in case of fire and you had little pill boxes around, in fact part of one is still there in Kingsbury Street about No.45, it now blends in with the house. There was a little pill box there with a little opening where soldiers could look up Kingsbury Street and hopefully catch any of these Germans who were supposed to be coming down. There was a pill box stuck outside the Sun Inn. There was also a big one on the lower part of the Green on the left hand side going up; in fact you can still see the outline of it now because when they took it down they didn’t take away all the foundations. And obviously there were some in other parts of the town.