WORLD WAR TWO
thank for all of the help this page has really made me think of what it was like.thanks again
DAVID POWELL, AYSGARTH.
I was born in 1934 and when WW2 broke out our family lived in Hayes Middlesex. I remember our summer holiday in August 1939 and a German on vacation who had to return to Germany to join the German army. The day war broke out a lady fire picket who lived opposite us walked up & down the road ringing a handbell, the church bells peeled for the last time before VE day. I remember the night the German Airforce lit up London with parachute incendary's, our parents got us up to witness this event as they thought it was the end of everything. I remember those hot steamy nights under the indoor shelter, 5 of us in a row. I remember the doodle-bugs falling out of the sky. The thousand bomber raids lining up over the west London area, a sight that will never be witnessed again. The first v2 I saw which I thought was a shooting star until the explosion. The ARP station at the top of our road where I used to stand outside - Whilst my elder sister courted one of the lads, by heck it used to be so cold. The rationing, the seat falling out of my trousers, the shoes being mended by my father with any thing he could get his hands on. But even at that young age I still remember the friendliness of good people, sharing any good luck they had with food, beer and cigarettes for Mum & Dad.
Among the many memorable days in Glasgow during the war, the day of Italy's infamous entry into the war, the "stab in the back...", stands among them. There was a considerable number of Italian ice-cream and chip shops in Glasgow. These Italians, who apparently settled in Glasgow just after the end of the Great War, and by the general standard of the regions where their businesses were located, had prospered. Most of the male Italians were interned right away without having been given time to arrange for someone to look after their various businesses.
This was the season of the "bogie" in Glasgow. This was simply a vehicle consisting of a plank , wooden box, and two pairs of pram wheels. That Italy had entered the war in such a cowardly fashion was not unknown to four young lads, including myself, as they pushed their bogies along the street, but certainly they never set out to be a part of what took place in Glasgow that day.
When they reached a corner where Meschi's fish & chip shop was located, they noticed a crowd of people standing around the closed door, at which a policeman stood. From across the road a passing soldier shouted something over at the policeman and the policeman took off after him. A woman ran into the nearby close and reappeared shortly with a key with which she opened the door. When the door was opened a horde of yelling children, myself included , rushed in over the sawdust-covered floor.
I clearly recall jumping over the counter and grabbing as many bottles of pop as I could carry. Once I had the bottles I couldn't get out again fat enough. There were cold fish-suppers all over the place and and salt shakers were being thrown from one side of the shop to the other. The place was in an uproar . I did eventually manage to get out with my loot as did all my pals and we scooted off down the street leaving the ever-growing howling mob fighting over whatever was left in the shop. We scoffed the pop, and took the empty bottles back to another shop for the deposits.
Rumours abounded as to what was happening to the "Tallies" in other parts off Glasgow, but a lull had set in as far as we were concerned. We were still a bit on the timid side and not too sure if we were to get away with this clear act of lawlessness ,which was so foreign to our normal way of life.
There were great expectations regarding what was going to happen that night when darkness came. While my participation in the "Maschi affair" had been totally spontanious, this was not the case with what happened the same night.
At night I found myself in the company of fellow army cadets.We knew of a Tally (not a disrespectful word; it simply meant "ice-cream shop) shop nearby that had survived the earlier looting of the day and it was here that some of us again celebrated Italy's entry into the war. When we arrived we found a crowd milling around the barred front door of the shop. No policemen were there, but for a long time nothing happened since no one was too sure how far they could go. As the night grew darker, the mob-confidence grew, and periodic door-hammering took place. There were no anti-Italian slogans or anything like that to lend justification to these acts of sheer vandelism.
The front plate-glass window was smashed and some hero who had gone in through the the broken window opened the front door and set off a stampede of hooligens, wild at the prospect of clearing the well-stocked confectionary shelves of the Tally shop. Jelly beans, that's what stands out clearly in my mind as the first thing I noticed as I rushed into the shop: some boy had thrown a big box of them up in the air and it burst open and scattered the beans all over the place.
At a great dash I reached the counter, climbed up on the top shelf and grabbed a carton of boxes of Cadbury's dairy milk choclate--not one box, a carton containing many boxes. Seconds after the door had been thrown open I was scooting up the street, on my own, with the box tucked under my arm. I just wanted to be out of it and running. Through a close, over a dyke, u
Of the same age from near Northolt, I used cycle thru Heathrow, across Hampton bridge to Dorking and on the day of D day, I arrived to see all the bypass cleared out of the tanks and men. Also brother made a large scale map on which we marked dramatically each bomb which fell and what German aeroplanes shot down. Sadly lost.
Patricia Ford (nee Mason)
I was 4 when war broke out, living in West London. I can't recall being frightened, nor of our lives being disrupted much. My father was in the police force and my mother was a teacher and I went to school, but although I remember hearing the air raid warning,and listening for the all clear, the times of raids do not stick in my memory, apart from the doodlebugs, when we would sit under the dining table and listen for the noise to stop................and then wait in trepidation. And the THUD is very much in my mind. I recall that when we went to bed, our clothes, including our Liberty Bodice, would be close, for a quick getaway to the underground shelter on the local green. There was no peace there as someone always had a gramophone with them and there was music and noise. Later we had an Anderson shelter in our garden, and I remember the building of it, and then the earthy smell of being inside it. Boredom was paramount in school when there was an air-raid. I seemed to sit endlessly in the hall with all the other children, doing French knitting to pass the time. Something that did relieve the boredom was hearing that bananas had been delivered to a shop a mile or so from my home, on a SUNDAY, and being sent to queue for our ration.
David L. Stockdale
I was 10 years old in 1942 and living in East Hull (Kingston-upon-Hull) about two miles from the docks. The German bombers used to come every night and knock hell out of us. We used to go into the Anderson Shelter in the garden soon after six pm every night and stay there untill the next morning when the "ALL CLEAR" sirens went. We did that for two years(maybe longer). My family and I were "bombed out " from two houses, but we survived in our tiny shelter. The second time the roof was blown completely off the house and we had to get out quickly and make our way to an "Emergency Centre"---a church crypt about a mile away, and all the time the bombs continued to drop as we ran throughthe streets of Hull. Soon after we arrived in the church crypt an elderly man came wearily in with a birdcage in his hand with what appeared to be a black blob perched on a rail. It was his canary and it was all that he had left. On another occasion I was returning to school after lunch on my bicycle, riding down a road that ran along side one of the many drainage canals that exist in Hull when a German plane came over with guns firing. I shall never forget having to dive from my bicycle and lay flat on the bankside of the drain, and then carry on to school after it had gone. Nevertheless I'm still here!!!
I am currently researching my family history - no kings or queens found yet - and around the research a book is coming into being ... but ... slowly. I was 6 years old when I heard the first siren and have many recollections of the WW2 period. The family lived in S E London and I do remember delivering newspapers early one morning and suddenly felt a Swooosh ! sound and a row of houses disappeared from the area of the road I had just completed.