Protective measures in wartime and the Covid era

·1 min read
<span>Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

Martyn Day recalls how his mother saved his life during the war by placing a shove ha’penny board over his cot, and why in the same spirit he now wears a face covering


Marina Hyde’s comments were spot-on (Let’s not pretend the anti-mask babies would have lasted a minute in the blitz, 30 November).

I was born in north London in December 1944, a time when Hitler’s V2 “vengeance weapons” were raining down on the city. Arrangements had been made to evacuate me and my mum out to Essex, but dreadful winter weather – sub-zero temperatures and snow – prevented that happening. Instead, she kept me indoors at home. Because the V2s gave no warning of their arrival, she placed an old shove ha’penny board over my cot as protection, “just in case”.

On 8 January 1945 – when I was 12 days old – a V2 landed in Sydney Road, Hornsey, just a few streets over from where we were living. It shook the house and brought down the ceilings, but I was saved because of that shove ha’penny board. I am now nearly 77 years old and lucky enough to have been given my full quota of vaccines and booster. When I do go out, I always wear a face mask in the same spirit as my mum putting that shove ha’penny board over my cot. That saved my life then. The mask may save my life now.
Martyn Day
Twickenham, London

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