This did not mean I missed out on being active and interested in events. I was a member of St Johns choir, a Cub Scout, a member of the Church Lads Brigade, a runner for the Home Guard and in mid 44 joined the Air Training Corps.
During this time soldiers occupied all the unoccupied homes in the area and we virtually lived in the middle of an army camp. Army vehicles of all sorts were around; lorries, guns, bren gun carriers, and much more.
This was a great time for a boy, for unlike my parents I wasn't preoccupied with the threat of invasion by German forces.
Almost every day I would be out visiting the soldiers in their billets and running errands.
My favourite task was to fetch doughnuts from Whybrows bakery shop in Great Clacton. As I can remember they were a shilling for 12 and Mrs Whybrow would always make it up to the bakers dozen (13) which meant there was one to eat on the way back. Mrs Whybrow was a kindly lady and would always know me by name.
Mr Whybrow was usually out the back at the ovens, but as my grand parents lived in the mansion house next door, I was often out the back and would watch the bread coming out of the oven with that unforgettable smell.
The soldiers would also be generous with some of their badges and I managed to build up a nice collection. I also had quite a few cloth shoulder flashes and mother sewed them on to a red, white and blue belt that I have still got. I also spent quite a bit of time at the old forge in Valley Road.
Mr King, the owner, was always there, as was Mr Griggs. I would often marvel at the way a few pumps on the bellows would make the coals glow red and Mr Griggs would pull a red hot piece of iron out of the fire and beat it on the anvil to form a horseshoe with that familiar noise on the anvil when iron meets iron.
Young lads were never told to 'clear off', but were always welcome to watch, they were two kindly men and if ever the air raid siren when, we somehow felt safe in the blacksmiths forge.
Father used to visit the Ship Pub for a pint and a chat with the landlord, a Mr Schofield and one day I remember father came home and said Mr Schofield had offered him a bungalow in Valley road for the princely sum of 250 pounds. There was quite a bit of discussion over the dinner table and father said it could be bombed and we could be left with nothing, ah well that was then and I have many more stories to tell.
During this time I would often go out early morning and come back home tea time and not once did my parents say 'where on earth have you been all day', something parents today would shudder at the thought. I had been out collecting souvenirs.
When I finally did return to school it was a time interrupted by air raids and running to the shelters then returning to the class room and trying to catch up where we left off. Teachers were very good and looked after their pupils with great care, most children respected this. On one occasion in 1944, the sky was filled with aeroplanes towing gliders, so we were all taken outside to stand and be amazed at this great spectacle.
School time during the war was something special and deserves a separate story as much happened in a relatively short period of time.
Albert Scott - age 9.