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Ventura County Man Recounts Surviving "The Blitz": Brutal Bombing Of British Cities During WW II

It was one of the most intense battles of World War II.  Eighty years ago, Great Britain was fighting for its existence.

The Blitz was an eight month long German bombing campaign of British cities, mostly focused on London, trying to force the country’s surrender. For most people, it’s something you see on “The History Channel.” But, it’s more than history for a Ventura County man. In 1940, Ron Jeffery was eight years old, living in London.

Jeffery was born in London, and was an only child.  When the war started in 1939, his life was turned upside down when is father joined the Royal Air Force, and his mother died.

As the Blitz started in 1940, Jeffery stayed with relatives in London  But, Jeffery says he didn’t feel comfortable staying with relative, so at eight, in the middle of the Blitz, he ran away to live on the streets of London.

He says he would buy some bread, and steal milk off the doorsteps of homes to survive.

Jeffery says everyone worried the relentless bombing was setting the stage for a German invasion.  Most people didn’t have guns, but the boy had his own plan.  He went to a sporting goods store, and bought a knife which he said he planned to use to fight off the invaders.

By the time the Blitz ended in May of 1941, more than 40,000 civilians had died in the bombing, and an estimated 1.1 million homes were destroyed or damaged.  But what came through the Blitz was the strong spirit of the British people.

Jeffery was 13 when the war ended.  He gets emotional when he talks about that day.  He went to Trafalgar Square, where a huge crowd had gathered.

He says he used a British flag as a blanket.  But, what he didn’t know is that someone captured an image of him sitting on a giant lion sculture in the square.  One of his grandkids called him a few years ago to interview him for a school history report.  Her mother, who was Jeffery’s daughter, started looking at pictures on the internet, and found the photo.

His life has been like that of the Forrest Gump movie character, with multiple lives all rolled up in one.  Jeffery served in the Royal Air Force. 

He started a specialty glass business. He eventually met his wife Connie, who was an American student studying in London.  They moved to the United States, where he had a long career in real estate before retiring. Along the way, he had three kids.

But, while it’s now been eight decades since the Blitz, he says he remembers having a front row seat to a terrible part of human history as if it was yesterday.