By Harry Rickard
27th September, 1940, World War II; Eddie sat, wrapped up in a blanket, beside his mother and younger sister as they heard the faint sounds of war, destruction and terror above ground. The Underground was hardly the cosiest of places, but at least it was safer than being up there – amongst the thick of it all; all of the chaos. He detested the unjustified reasons of war, he hated that his father had to fight in it and it angered him how his home and all he had ever known was in utter ruins. It scared Eddie, hearing the terrifying sounds of war – thinking he may only feel life for eight short years; many of his school friends had been blown to pieces after the Jerrys accidentally blew up their houses after drifting off-course from the RAF airfields. Eddie didn’t think like an eight-year-old normally would, war changes you – Eddie feared he may be next, but didn’t wish to dwell upon this for too long. With that, he removed the thought from his mind and instead picked up that week’s Beano comic which lay next to him.
Crash! The wagon came to a sudden stop; he and his friends tumbled out as it hit a conveniently-placed rock.
“Ooh, me ‘ead!” cried Snitch,
“Ooh, me everything!” moaned Snatch.
“Never mind chaps, let’s get the wagon back onto its wheels. Up you get, Gertie – you lazy goat!”
“Cripes, Snoots! I think we’re all rather beaten up to go racing on the cart again!”
“Nonsense, Scrapper Smith! You’re meant to love getting beaten up. Come along, friends!”
Wearily everyone heaved and huffed and puffed and eventually turned the cart back over again, clambered on, and then off went the cart again; people leapt out of the way as the cart tore down the street – Lord Snooty and his pals from Ash Can Alley laughing the whole time.
Eddie loved The Beano and its characters, it did not particularly bother him that The Beano was now at only 20 pages an issue, as opposed to its previous 28 pages due to paper-rationing, he still thought it was fantastic; a world full of slapstick, adventure and hilarity. He smiled at the thought of when Big Eggo flew over Hitler’s headquarters and dropped a bomb and blew the Jerrys up. He could remember Hitler’s shocked face – imagine the most evil man on the planet, being defeated by a single ostrich!
As the dreaded Heinkel He 111 came over Beanotown, people ran about screaming on the street. Cries went out from all around, ‘The Germans are here!’, ‘Help!’, and ‘Run!’
“What on earth is going on he- URK!” Pansy Potter ducked as the plane suddenly dived down to knock her.
“Der ha ha! Take dat, British kinder!” chortled the Nazi.
Pansy shook her fist as she picked herself up from the ground, “Why, if you do that again- you… you… you brutes!”
“Does der little girl vant to be hit again?” retorted the Nazi, “Den she vill get her vish!”
The plane then proceeded to flip back around and the Nazi grinned with his thirst for violence as he hurtled towards poor Pansy. This time, Pansy stood still as a statue and glared at the soldier. He clearly wanted to hurt her, she hated to disappoint him.
Crunch! The plane bent and buckled as it hit her – Pansy wasn’t the strongman’s daughter for nothing, you know!
As he closed the comic, Eddie heard the distant sound of a bomb detonating and suddenly his mind snapped back to reality. Eddie could remember the good old days, back when his friends were all still alive and he lived in a warm house with his family. He could remember the day Churchill announced that Britain were at war with Germany and how everybody’s hearts suddenly sank, as a look of fear rose over their faces. He could remember when his family were forced to leave their house for their own good and had to move down to the Underground, it was so busy down there – he’d never seen so many people in one place in his life! He looked at his mother and she smiled at him, leant over and gave him a soft kiss on his forehead; for the first time in what felt like ages, Eddie felt safe. His life had changed, yet there was still hope; the war was not over yet.
With that, Eddie put down his comic, kissed his mother goodnight, and went to sleep, deep down in the Underground.