I love this photo, left between the leaves of her Ryman notebook, by my World War 2 diarist June, who wrote ‘Happy’ on it. Sadly, I don’t know his real name. Happy, who is wearing the standard navy blue ARP uniform issued to volunteer ambulance drivers, was a colleague of June’s at Ambulance Station 22 in Danvers Street, Chelsea. In the photo he is standing in Paultons Street (The Black Lion pub, now called The Chelsea Pig, is just out of shot) and looks as if he is mid-conversation with the photographer, who was probably June herself.
I am also very taken with the young gentleman with the shock of black hair and his leg up on the steps – possibly the epitome of 40s romantic bohemian, of whom there were many examples in Chelsea at the time.
Note the white stripes on the kerb – there to help prevent trip accidents in the blackout.