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Orchard, Sheila

  Birth: December 8, 1929 

When Sheila Orchard (nee Boothroud) was nine years old, Neville Chamberlain flew into the airport close to her home, back from a visit to Germany with Adolf Hitler. He flashed a thumbs-up sign into the crowd where her brother stood, intending to reassure the people that war had been averted. 

Sheila grew up in the London suburb of Haynes through most of the war. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Sheila and her family had to register and be issued an identity card, a ration book and a gas mask. These items were to be kept on one’s person at all times. 

She remembers the discomfort of sleeping in outdoor and indoor bomb shelters, the air raid siren and the confusion it brought for schoolchildren who never knew if school was open or closed that day. Her school’s boiler room was bombed, and the two families hiding inside all perished. She had close friends die in bombings from V2 missiles which were silent and lethal. Yet, Sheila stated that at least the silent missiles wrecked less havoc on the nerves, because you never knew when they were coming. 

She was evacuated from London on several occasions to her grandparent’s home in the North of England. She married October 27, 1947, at seventeen years old, to a R.A.F. pilot Geoffrey Orchard. He joined the Canadian Air Force, and the couple immigrated to Canada. They moved to Osprey Township in 1990, and have lived in Markdale since 2006.