Dover in the Second World War - A Dover Girl’s War
Anyway. Mum came down to Wales to take Leslie home and there was no way I was going to stay if he went home, so Mum took us both back with her. We had been in Wales for just six weeks! When we got back, Mum sent us out to Uncle Arthur Nelson in Mill Lane, Nonington, which was a much safer place than Dover at that time. I remember helping the Land Girls with the harvest that year, and also going hop-picking to earn money for a bicycle. We went home to Dover for Christmas - and stayed. In May 1943, our house at 128 Mayfield Avenue was hit by a bomb and we were all buried in the debris but nobody was hurt. We had lost everything, but we had survived.” The bombing occurred in the early hours of Saturday 22 May 1943. The air raid sirens sounded just before 2.30 a.m. During the air raid cluster of small calibre bombs was dropped demolishing seven houses in Mayfield Avenue and extensively damaging others in the vicinity. There were four fatal casualties, one seriously injured and eleven slightly. At No. 126, Charles and Louisa Chapman, and their seventeen-year-old daughter Doris, were killed, while the other daughter was seriously injured. Forty-nine-year-old Ivy Fussell, a laundry worker, was found dead at No. 118. In No. 128, fifteen-year-old Joyce Doolin was trapped in her bed by a fallen rafter which pinned her legs, so that she was unable to move. While the rescue teams toiled among the rubble, War Reserve Constable Minter remained with the her for two hours and prevented more rubble falling on the girl. Joyce was eventually released and only then did the constable come out of the tunnel. He was taken to hospital in a collapsed state. A total of thirteen were hospitalized. So severe was the damage that eventually fourteen houses were taken down by the authorities.
Joyce Doolin was eleven when war was declared in September 1939. She lived with her parents Charles Vincent and Ruth Victoria Doolin in Mayfield Avenue. She had an older sister, Nora who was 16 and a younger brother, Leslie who was 6, another brother Michael was born in 1941. In June 1940, along with many other Dover school children, Joyce was evacuated to South Wales:“I was evacuated with Barton Road School. My mother agreed to us going on the understanding that we would be kept together. Mum thought I would keep an eye on Leslie, my seven-year old brother. As it turned out, I went to Ynysddu and my brother went to another village, Blackwood! I had a very good billet with an old gentleman and his daughter, but my brother was in a very rough place where the woman had a son the same age as Leslie. My brother was made to do all sorts of work. He hadn't been there long before the woman looking after him wrote to Mum and said that all his clothes had been stolen from the washing line, and that Mum would have to send more. She had taken my brother’s clothes for her own son.