Wartime Memories - a Memory of Woodford Green.

Mr Geoff Duff's memories sent to you on 27th July 2008 gave me such a surprise. I too remember the strange woman who would walk down to Woodford Station around 3.30 in the afternoon every day summer and winter obviously to meet a loved one who never returned from the war. She was quite tall (about 5 foot 9 inches) and plump and she wore a pale peach satin dress with a dropped waistline, two long strings of pearls across her chest, brown crimped hair, and a tiara on her head (1920s style). She often looked so cold as her legs were bare. She wore brown court shoes which had a strap and button across the front and she carried a large brown handbag. I would set her age at about the mid fifties then, so in 1956 I guess she would be about 68.

As a child of about seven years of age I was both scared and fascinated when I saw her approaching us on the quiet side of The Broadway opposite the shops and I would hold my mother's hand tightly. What scared me most was the white make-up, the red rouge and the bright red lipstick. Once she had passed us and I felt more secure, I felt so sorry for her. Always the belief that he'd be on the next train and if not, he would be there the following day. Such hope and loyalty in her heart.

It was said that she had somewhere to live and that neighbours kept a friendly eye on her. I never knew it was Snaresbrook - that would be a good few miles away! These days she would have been in a good care home and be warm and dry. It seems she was known as 'The Duchess of Woodford', but there would always be that air of mystery surrounding her.

I do have happier memories of Woodford though, the VE Day party in the summer of 1945, held on the tennis courts at the back of Beverley Crescent, fancy dress party and wonderful fireworks.

The central line had stopped running out as far as Woodford during the Second World War and we would walk to The Napier Arms on the High Road (Kingfisher Outdoor Swimming
Pool was opposite across the edge of Epping Forest) in order to catch the trolley bus to Liverpool Street to catch the tube.

My father enjoyed cross-country running with the Woodford Harriers and when he returned home would drink eight to nine cups of tea - the best thing to quench his thirst!

I also remember lovely bike rides and picnics in Epping Forest - war or no war!

A memory shared by Valerie Thompson on Nov 23rd, 2009. Send Valerie Thompson a message

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