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Allen, Olive

  Olive Allen (nee Taylor) was born in the Hackney Borough of London, England, the eldest child of three.

Olive was eight years old when her childhood was severely altered by the outbreak of the Second World War, and more specifically, when the Battle of Britain began. In the summer and fall of 1940, German Luftwaffe concentrated their efforts on bombing British cities in an attempt to weaken the British military forces.

Olive, her two siblings and her mother, left London for the British countryside which was somewhat safer than the city. They moved to Devon, but soon came back to London when their mother believed the bombing had cleared. When it re-commenced they returned to Devon, but it proved to not be as safe as hoped.

Olive recounts memories of schoolchildren being machine-gunned by German aircraft on the beaches of the coastline and having bombs dropped on her school. She was nearly killed when playing in the backyard of the family she was staying with; Olive and her brother had to run and hide in a washhouse from machine-gun fire. Olive also remembers the horrors caused by “Doodlebugs” cruise missiles fired from as far away as France, and their successors V-2 missiles, which were nearly silent before impact. Yet, despite these attacks, Olive and her family survived the war. 

Olive married George Allen in 1950, while rationing was still practised in England. In 1959, they took a year’s working holiday with their two sons, David and Paul, and moved to Canada. They had two more children in Canada and eventually settled in Flesherton, Ontario where they still live today.