If the Invader Comes

Posted on 22/03/2020 By

“If the Invader Comes”

This story is based on fact.

A Black & White photograph of Bertie wearing Bobby's cap creating a wartime effect.

It’s 1940 in our imagination and we ask you to accept that, for the sake of the story, we have changed the real date by four years. Bobby was born on 26 January 1944, near the end of the war. That date is now 26 January 1940 at the beginning. A time when no-one had any idea what the future held:

“My name is Dorothy Evelyn Adeline Ball, but everybody calls me Dolly.

Here’s my Birth Certificate, that was written in the beautiful copper plate writing of those far off days. As you can see from the postage stamp, I was born in the reign of Queen Victoria in 1899.

Birth Certificate of Dorothy Evelyn Adeline Ball.

I am forty five years old and have just given birth to my third baby. My husband, Sid, and I have decided to christen him Robert James, but everyone will call him Bobby. He was born in St Helier Hospital a few days ago and we brought him home on the 156 bus.

Bobby as a baby with his mother, Dolly.

Big ears, big baby (over 9lb…) Bobby and Dolly.

My husband has gone to work at the KLG on his bike. It’s not nice, cycling in the dark due to the blackout where only a glimmer of light is allowed from his lights. The house windows are blacked out and there is a film on the windows in case a bomb goes off and blows all the glass in. They told us that any lights would help the bombers work out where they are on their way to London. My eldest son, Tony, is in the navy. He is a writer, like a clerk on board an aircraft carrier, but I’m not sure where he is. My daughter, Wendy, is eight years old and was evacuated to Leeds some time ago. They said it would be safer there than London. We don’t live in London, but this part of Surrey will be right under the bombers if they do come to bomb London. Everyone is scared. They gave us a Morrison shelter to place in the front room (see appendices). I can’t imagine sleeping in that with my baby.

We have gas masks too and they are horrible (see appendices). This morning, the postman put a leaflet in every single house called “If the Invader comes”. Now I am really scared. I wish Sid was here.

Copy of the "If the Invader Comes" leaflet.

Copy of the "If the Invader Comes" leaflet.

0ur thanks to Bill Lancaster for providing copies of this historic leaflet. Click on the images to see full size versions.


How to build an air raid shelter:


Morrison shelter


Instructions on using your Gas Mask and Masking your Windows.

Instructions on using your Gas Mask and Masking your Windows.

A child's gas mask.

Children’s gas mask

Front of a National Identity Card for under sixteen years.

Bobby's Registration Identity Card: Number CRAA 410:-; Surname Ball; Christian Names Robert J; Full Postal Address 138 Brooks Drive (rest illegible); Valid until Jan 26th 1960. Ussie Stamp 11 Feb 44.;

Identity card based on the actual date of 26 January 1944.

Lighting a candle for Diddley; for Bobby and for Dolly.

Six photo-booth style shots of Bobby as a baby in his mother's (Dolly) arms.

Bobby and Dolly.

A candle lit for Diddley.


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