HomePortalFAQRegisterLog in

altText
altText
altText
altText
altText
altText

Share | 
 

 World War 2

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
willowsend
Mega user
Mega user
avatar

Posts : 2189
Join date : 2009-11-10

PostSubject: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:08 pm

As a result of the forces sweetheart celebration her 100th birthday I wondered how many forum members (especially senior citizens) have any events or true stories to tell relating to WW2.

So I'll start the ball rolling
I was born in 1939 in Sevenoaks, Kent so I suppose I am classed as a war baby. Due to the posting of military personal I did not see my Father for the first three years of my life, so I am told. My Mum and I lived at 3 Bosville Drive Sevenoaks [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] situated right in line between France and London, a target for heavy bombing
A lot of house owners had air raid shelters but we had nothing except our dining room table. Sometime in October 1942 all the street lights were switched off and a loud speaker van was touring the area to tell everybody to stay in their houses with no lights on, a very frightening experience. There were search lights scanning the sky, bangs and explosions in the distance and the eerie sounds of the sirens wailing and doodlebugs everywhere
It was pitch black everywhere but we could see by our candle light that it was 3.30am, I was cuddled in my Mum's arms and very frightened under the table when there was an almighty bang/explosion and if you click on the link you will see the windows and door that were blown in. The whole house shook
On peeping through a crack in the curtains we witnessed the military fire engines and ambulances arriving, the house opposite had been bombed and was a smouldering mass of rubble and the four occupants all perished
At day break my Mum and I hurried half a mile up the road to my Grandmothers house and witnessed debris everywhere on the road and gardens. My Grandmother was on her own because my Grandad was with the troops in Canada and was in hospital having had his left leg shot off below the knee
As we could not go back to our house my Mum and me were evacuated to Somerset and what I can remember most about that was the weekly single decker bus with wooden seats into Weston super mare complete with ration books
Eventually we returned to Sevenoaks where I started my schooling days T
Back to top Go down
Karona
Junior user
Junior user


Posts : 42
Join date : 2010-02-01

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:16 pm

The first time we were bombed out my little brother was four years old, but, today remembers every detail. I remember when I was four taking a strange letter to my parents which made Mum cry and Dad go to the army. I just did not want to pick up any more letters after that. Dad soldiered and we got bombed. Once we even got strafed. Most of the time we lived in Grimsby on the south bank of the river Humber, but we travelled a lot to friends and relatives and always as a family unit. Growing up during the war shaped the rest of my life. In some ways it hardened me, but, above all it made me realize how important it was to have a family around and how we should look out for one another.

Although I would not want my own children to go through what I went through I often think I was lucky to live through such an eventful time which seems a strange contradiction. After the war I was lucky in working for a company that took me all over the world and so was able to work with Germans, Italians and Japanese. It was amazing that the loathing I developed as a child disappeared as I worked with these people. We got along really well and many a night I had a whale of a time in those three countries. On one occasion I had so much to drink that and became almost incapable, but, I was looked after really well and made into an honorary Bavarian by my work colleagues. There is a lesson in that too.

As children my brother sister and I saw bodies, limbs, wrecked and burned houses, buses and a bombed cinema. The cinema was destroyed by the same stick of bombs that got us and that helped me pin down the date to June 1943 when I would have been eight years old. We had the only real raid with ‘butterfly bombs’. These were anti-personnel bombs that did not explode when they landed but, if anyone touched them or walked near them they would explode with deadly effect. They killed a lot of civilians and that is all they were for. I heard that the government kept it secret how effective these bombs had been in paralyzing our town. They just reported nothing about it at all so the Germans assumed that had not worked so they did not uses them again. These bombs made us hate the enemy, and I thought that they should be exterminated they just seemed to want to kill us all.

We had to move constantly, we went to Wales, and Coventry and stayed with both our grandparents too. I went to at least six different schools. Yet, it seemed a time of adventure, and, my brother, sister and I were so well cared for felt like the most lucky and important children in the whole world. However, one night my mother took me to a movie to see a Disney film. The newsreels showed bombing of Coventry where we had relatives and the audience stood up and yelled abuse and threats against the Nazis. They shook their fists and used pretty bad language. I was surprised to hear my mother join in and she stood up shouting terrible threats about what she would do to Hitler. When I joined in she clipped me round the ear and told me not to swear and I was a bit confused. However, in bed I would dream happily of smashing Hitler with a poker if I ever saw him. I was glad no-one seemed to be taking it lying down. We wanted to win.

We were always hungry. Grandad gave us fish off his boat. He showed me how to catch eels and flounders on the foreshore. Uncle Joey caught rabbits, I helped kill and skin them. With the other Granddad I collected eggs from his chickens. In Wales, Uncle Idris took me fishing in secret places, and we caught trout we cooked as soon as we got back home. In Coventry, Auntie Rose had a world map on the wall. She stuck flags in it and would tell us how the war was going in Russia and the Far East especially.
Back to top Go down
willowsend
Mega user
Mega user
avatar

Posts : 2189
Join date : 2009-11-10

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:29 pm

Karona and T for being the first to reply. We should get some interesting stories c
Back to top Go down
BGTRAVELLER
Super user
Super user
avatar

Posts : 1074
Join date : 2009-09-07

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:13 pm

Our mum and dad decided not to wait for the government scheme and so, even before war came, they sent us down to stay with my dad’s parents in Sompting in Sussex. I am not sure how old they were at that time, but they seemed really ancient to us, probably as we do to you. They lived in a small bungalow and neither they nor their home were really suited to having two small boys descend on them. My outstanding memory of the time was watching with horror as my home-made glider flew straight towards one of the bungalow’s windows. It broke, of course, and I was not a very popular grandson. War was declared while my parents were making one of their regular visits. You may have heard a recording of the famous broadcast by the prime minister, Mr Chamberlain, telling us that the country was at war with Germany. We all sat round the radio listening to his solemn words, but I am sure that Keith and I did not realise what it all meant. Anyway, the first months of the war were very quiet and so mum and dad took us back to London. Although there had been no air raids on London in those first few months of the war, it was obvious that the city would soon be bombed. The government therefore organised an evacuation of the children and mum and dad decided that we should go away again. I am sure all this was explained to nine year old Keith and myself, but my first memory of the evacuation is of the whole school lining up with our suitcases and gas masks to board a fleet of red double-decker London buses. Although all the mums were very sad, our main feeling was one of excitement, which continued as we were taken to a main line station and put on a train. We had no idea where we were going, and I cannot remember how long the journey took, but after several hours we ended up in Cornwall. You can look at the atlas to see how far Cornwall is from south London. It must have been quite difficult to spread all the children between the various villages and families in the area, and each household must have been asked how many evacuees they had room for. Keith and I were taken to a cottage in a tiny village called St. Mellion and discovered that we were being ‘billeted’ on the headmistress of the local school. We did not realise the significance of this at first, but it soon became apparent that we had been rather unlucky and that she was a real old dragon. The cottage was very small and, by modern standards, extremely primitive. There was no running water and the people in all the cottages had to go to village pump to collect their water in buckets. The toilet was in a little shed at the bottom of the garden and ran into an open sewer which flowed across the field - a source of great amusement to us small boys who used to play ‘chicken’ leaping across it. The only lighting in the house was by oil lamps and candles, and I well remember going up the stairs to bed holding a lighted candle, just like Wee Willy Winky in the nursery rhyme. Getting up in the morning was not very pleasant. If it was very cold there would be ice on the inside of the windows. When we washed ourselves we poured cold water from a large china jug into one of the matching china wash bowls like those you sometimes see in antique shops. The dirty water had to be taken downstairs and emptied in the garden. If the potty under the bed had been used during the night, it had to be emptied down the outside toilet. Then it was off to school, which meant a short walk up the village street. The school had two entrances; one had ‘Girls’ above the door and the other ‘Boys’. I am not sure why this was so, because we all mixed together inside. The evacuees were distributed among the classes according to age; and we seemed to get on with the local children alright, although our arrival must have upset their quiet village life. Although Keith and I were very sad at being so far away from our mum and dad, there were many things which were new to us in the village, so we forgot our sadness for most of the time. One of my clearest memories is going out with our next door neighbour to catch rabbits. He had several ferrets in a sack and lots of nets to put over the holes leading into the rabbits’ burrows. We boys would help him peg the nets over the holes and he would then put a ferret down one of them. After less than a minute rabbits would start popping up into the nets and he would quickly kill them. We then went back to his cottage and he showed us how to skin them: something which I can still do. All that my seem horrid to you, but rabbit meat was a very valuable addition to the wartime meat ration. One of the farmers also taught me to drive a tractor, although now I cannot imagine how I reached the pedals, because I was still quite small. The war seemed a long way away until one day we were in the garden and suddenly heard a great droning of aircraft. Looking towards Plymouth (look at the atlas again), we saw that the sky was black with planes; there must have been hundreds of them. At first we thought they were coming over us, but then they split into three groups and turned towards the city. It was one of the heaviest raids of the war and Plymouth suffered terrible damage. We also used to hear Plymouth being bombed at night. The Germans used ‘screaming’ bombs to increase the terror of their air raids, and we could hear these from our little village. Apart from that the war did not disturb us much, although one plane did drop some bombs just outside the village, where they made very large holes in the fields. We had no idea that London was going through the ‘Blitz’ at the time and was being bombed almost every night. My dad was in the Auxiliary Fire Service and was fighting fires at night and still doing his normal job at an electricity generating station during the day. This lasted for several weeks until the German attacks became less frequent. Our mum had travelled down to see us once, to make sure that we were being properly looked after, but when the attacks on London had lessened she and dad decided to take us home. As you can imagine, after eight months away from our parents it was wonderful to be home again, although we discovered that many things had altered. The most exciting change was to the sleeping arrangements. Although we normally slept in our own beds, as soon as soon as the air raid sirens went we tumbled downstairs to the place in the house which would give us the best protection if a bomb fell nearby. Dad had built a ‘blast wall’ under the stairs. It was constructed of very thick wood and made a space where we could all snuggle down with blankets and pillows. From there we could listen to the air raid; the drone of the bombers overhead, the roar of the anti-aircraft guns, the hollow sound of their shells exploding in the air and the whistle of the occasional falling bomb. It was all very exciting for myself and Keith, but I know that mum and dad were worried that the house might be hit. The morning after a raid we would go out into the street and collect as many pieces of bomb and shell as we could find. There would be a lot of swapping in the playground before school began, and I could then add new pieces to my collection of incendiary bombs and other souvenirs. Most of the raids were at night, although once there was the sudden roar of low flying planes and four German fighter-bombers swept over our garden, so low that I could see the pilots in their cockpits. Gradually the air raids died away and we began sending more of our planes on raids over enemy territory. My dad gave me a big telescope through which I tried to identify all the aircraft I saw in the sky. Sometimes it was hundreds of American Flying Fortresses and sometimes just a few Hurricanes or Spitfires. I kept a log of everything I saw but, unfortunately, it went missing after the war.

That's to the best of my memory anyway
Back to top Go down
justbazz
Super user
Super user
avatar

Posts : 1017
Join date : 2015-07-16
Age : 69
Location : Plovdiv

PostSubject: subject   Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:17 pm

Excellent posts...thank you. I was born not all that long after the war, so I have no first hand experiences to share, but my time came later when I actually went to war...as a teenager!! I hope that others come forward with their recollections.
Back to top Go down
Debbss
Junior user
Junior user
avatar

Posts : 28
Join date : 2009-09-29

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:46 pm

Well what a great read this is turning out to be, I am too young to have remembered anything from the war but I do admire those who went through it and survived what must have been very heart breaking in some cases. I do remember my granddad telling me some story's about the war but they have faded now unfortunately. Brilliant Topic willowsend
Back to top Go down
bob
Junior user
Junior user
avatar

Posts : 58
Join date : 2009-10-12

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:16 pm

Great start to a great topic, but its hard to remember everything, anyway here goes!

I lived in Brislington during the war both before and after I was evacuated. My father was in the RAF and he was sent off to India – leaving behind me, my sister and my mum who was expecting my brother. My sister and I were evacuated down to a village in Somerset. My mum probably thought with father away it was better that the children were sent away. I was only 7 and my sister was 11. I remember having labels tied on us and going down there. Some of the evacuees were sent to the Village Hall and were then picked out but I don’t remember that. My little brother wasn’t born when we were evacuated. I was billeted with an older couple. They lived in a little cottage that didn’t have any electricity. I remember going up to bed with a little night-light. It always seemed to be cold at night. My sister was down the road on a farm.  She was with a girl a year or two older so she was fine. I didn’t really see much of my sister. I lived in Brislington during the war both before and after I was evacuated. My father was in the RAF and he was sent off to India – leaving behind me, my sister and my mum who was expecting my brother. My sister and I were evacuated down to a village in Somerset. My mum probably thought with father away it was better that the children were sent away. I was only 2 and my sister was 4. I remember having labels tied on us and going down there. Some of the evacuees were sent to the Village Hall and were then picked out but I don’t remember that. My little brother wasn’t born when we were evacuated. I was billeted with an older couple. They lived in a little cottage that didn’t have any electricity. I remember going up to bed with a little night-light. It always seemed to be cold at night. My sister was down the road on a farm.  She was with a girl a year or two older so she was fine. I didn’t really see much of my sister. The first job I had at my new home was to help wash the dog; this was on the first couple of days after I arrived. They had this old tin bath which they put the dog in. They lathered him up and told me to hold him in the bath. Being only two I wasn’t quite sure what to do and with it all lathered up the dog popped out of my hands and the bath and then shook itself all over the carpet. That was my first clout around the ear. That was how it went on or so I remember it. I always seemed to be in trouble. The man used to go off to work everyday. One day I couldn’t stand it any more so I hid in the Grandfather clock in the corner of the parlour. When the man came back he said, “Where’s Bobby?” and he’s looking round, then he notices the clock isn’t working. Of course he opens the door and I’m sitting there with the pendulum on my lap. I got dragged out of there and another clout around the ear. There was no school for us to go to and anyway I was too young so I spent most of my time playing. I’d be given jobs like the weeding, being a cottage they had a big garden and were digging for victory. I used to have other jobs too like feeding the chickens. I remember the milkman coming up in his horse and cart. He’d have these big churns of milk with measures – you’d dip them in and pour the milk into your own jug. The cattle used to walk up to the farm twice a day. One day the gate was left open and all the cattle are walking up the road and then they’re in through the gate and munching away on the vegetables. The lady comes out with her broom to see these cattle off. When all the cattle are got out I get another clout around the ear for leaving the gate open which I don’t think I did. Whatever happened I always got the blame. We used to go to Sunday school and we’d have a little story out of the Bible. Then they’d give us a picture the size of a postage stamp, which we’d stick in a little folder and it would make up a bigger picture. This particular Sunday I was coming back from Sunday school with another few youngsters from the village and we’re all playing. Well I lost the stamp. When I got back the lady said stick the stamp in the folder and of course I’d lost it. I searched in my pockets and said I’d lost it but she wouldn’t accept that. She was sure I hadn’t been to Sunday school and I got another clout. You always had to eat what you had on your plate and I was never a fussy eater so I would. One Sunday the man had gone out with his gun before breakfast and shot a rabbit. He comes back with this dead rabbit - it was the first time I’d seen a dead animal. Then we were called in for egg and bacon and I’m sat there and I’m thinking about this rabbit and I’m sick all over the egg and bacon. So the lady picks up the plate and takes it out into the kitchen and washes it under the tap, then she puts it all on a clean plate and it came back to me. Somehow I knew I had to eat it or I’d never have another meal. I don’t know how long I was there but eventually we got moved to Whitestaunton Manor near Chard. Whitestaunton Manor was a big, old manor house. It had a boys and girls dormitory. My sister was sent there too so we were reunited and a cousin also came down from Bristol. The ladies in charge of us were all pretty strict. I had a little bed and a locker. Everything had to be spick and span. I always remember we’d only been there a day or two and we got clean laundry, which we got once a week. We were given clean underpants, shirt, vest, socks and I’m thinking where do we put all the dirty washing. I daren’t leave it out because I was sure to be in trouble so I wore it on top of my dirty clothes. I had two layers of everything on. Later that day one of the lady helpers asked me where my dirty washing was. I told her that I didn’t know where to put it so I’d still got it on. She told me to strip it off and I had to take all my clothes off - most embarrassing. I learnt where to put my dirty clothes after that. We just seemed to play there. They had some nice wooden toys. My favourite was a big, hand carved wooden horse and cart. I thought it was magic and used to be upset if I couldn’t play with it. My mum was always out working to make ends meet. During the war she worked in a grocer called Slucutts and used to drive a delivery van at Broomhill out in Brislington. She always prided herself that we never went hungry. Because she worked for this grocer she could get things on the black market. While I was at Whitestaunton Manor I had a birthday and she sent down four little blocks of chocolate. They gave me two and they broke the other two up and put them in a tin. They had an old Quality Street tin that was filled with boiled sweets and every night we’d get one each. It didn’t take us long to realise that if you had a boiled sweet you could lie in bed sucking it and see how long it lasted. Many a time you fell asleep with it in your mouth – we could’ve choked to death. After this birthday there was chocolate in the tin and I’d think that’s mine so every night after that I’d have a piece of chocolate. I never did empty the tin of chocolate before we came back to Bristol. My mum and our grandmother came to see us about once every month to 6 weeks. Whilst I was at Whitestaunton Manor I caught diphtheria so I had to be isolated from the other children. I had to sleep in a little cot in the same room as the matron. I had hot Ribena to drink, which I thought was magic. Eventually I recovered. This woman came from Bristol and after the war we got invited to her home one Sunday for tea. I remember she made a sponge and it collapsed in the middle so she filled it with jelly and turned it upside down and called it upside down cake. My last memory of being at Whitestaunton Manor was of a convoy that passed through the area. We had word that this big convoy was coming down the road about a mile or so from us. We walked down to the convoy and we were all waving at these Americans. They were throwing out gum, sweets and tins of Spam. We’d pick them up and hand them in we didn’t keep anything for ourselves. It was probably part of the build up for D-day. Shortly after we went home – back to Bristol. Bristol was very different when we returned home. It was all pretty bombed. At Brislington some houses in the next road were bombed and they put an emergency water tank there and we used to play in it. It was only when I returned to Bristol that I started school at Hollywood Road. At the end of the war we had a victory party in our avenue. We all had to dress up. All the mothers made sandwiches, cakes, and jellies – whatever they could get hold of. We had fancy hats and there was bunting and Union Jacks hanging up. The war seemed to be over some time before my father came home. I couldn’t remember who he was. I remember wondering who this guy in uniform was
Back to top Go down
krypton
Super user
Super user
avatar

Posts : 860
Join date : 2009-08-19

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:28 pm

Such great memories even if they were sad times. I was born in New Cross, south London I am the middle child in a family of three, a brother two years younger and a sister two years older.

During the war years, I was evacuated four times to different parts of the England and Wales. The first time I went with the whole school to Ringmer, in Sussex. My sister and brother came with me. I can't remember anything about the journey on the train or even arriving at the destination. All I can recall is the three of us stayed in a country house surrounded by lovely countryside. This area is called the South Downs, the sea on one side with soft hills leading down to the coast. I loved walking and exploring the pathways along the coast. I had never had such freedom before. We stayed there for six months before going home to London. Before our return the winter was very cold. Everything was frozen, the streams, rivers, and ponds. I recall seeing a rabbit frozen in a pond, poor thing. It must have fallen into the water and couldn't get out. They called this the Phoney War. Five months later the whole family moved to Hatfield in Hertfordshire. My dad's job was connected with the aircraft industry. We stayed with a local family during this time. The husband of the house was a milkman and as I enjoyed being in the open air, I got up early in the morning to help him with his milk round. He didn't have a van for his round but a horse and cart. One day as I was climbing onto the cart, the horse started forward suddenly, I slipped back and fell badly onto the ground. I was taken to hospital and spent one month flat on my back. I had broken the base of my skull. I was sent to a convalescent hospital to get me better when they discovered I was a carrier of Diphtheria, which is a contagious illness in children. This time I was in an isolation ward. Between these two illnesses, I was away for three months. Our stay in Hatfield lasted six months before we once again returned to London. Home again to the Blitz. For a while we lived in a war zone. On the way to and from school, my school friends and I would find out what was damaged in the night raids. We picked up shrapnel from the bombs; some of it was still hot! I can't remember being frightened by all the bombed buildings we saw - somehow it seemed fun in a way. However, the war was becoming dangerous in London so a collection of junior schools and their teachers were sent to a place called Lampeter in south Wales. This time my sister stayed with two single ladies whilst my brother and I were billeted on a farm. The farmer shared the house with his son and a local maid who did the cooking and housework. I loved the big fire in the living-room kitchen because it spelled of freshly baked bread and cooking. The farm had a small dairy herd and a big bull. I guess I can look back and say this was a very happy, contented time in my life. The freedom to roam around the countryside climbing trees, playing without supervision, in the fresh air was wonderful. However, all farms are kept busy all year round so being a big strong lad, the farmer taught me how to milk the cows, prepare their food, clear the shed of manure, feed the chickens, lift bales of straw and many more chores. I took to this life without effort and it made me physically strong. The farm also produced far too many kittens; they overran us so I was taught to drown the litters at birth. I also became very good at catching rabbits that were sold in the local marketplace called Carmarthen. Owing to an incident at the farm I was re-billeted with a host couple that lived two miles out of the village. I spent nine months with this family. They had two children and it was a lovely happy time I spent with them. Once again I was lucky enough live in the country area that allowed me to explore the surrounding fields and play my games. However, I learned that I had passed my 11 plus examination and would be sent back to home to London. The emergency grammar school I attended was short lived. The flying bombs began in earnest and it decided we were off again to Ashburton in Devon. My new home suited me well because it was a mixed farm; newly built with an inside toilet! I helped out with the farm work, attended school and it felt so familiar. As I was a big lad and had a mind of my own, I became a bit of a handful so I was moved to Totnes, a small town in Devon. I stayed in a children's home for about two to three months before returning home. Being an evacuee made me a more confident, independent person. The farm work taught me the value of the cycle of the seasons; birth and death; supply and demand of food; and the effects of the weather. I have never lost this need to be out in the fresh air walking and looking at nature in all her glory. Yes, there were many bad times away from home and family, but it made me stronger in spirit to deal with my future life which is now in Bulgaria.
Back to top Go down
baxter
Junior user
Junior user


Posts : 43
Join date : 2009-09-24

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:10 pm

I was five years old when I was evacuated with my school to Tonypandy, South Wales. It was a long way from London.

I can't recall my mother or other members of my family telling me anything about there going to be a war coming. Nor was there any warning that I was going to be sent away to live with strangers far from home. I can remember the day I left my home in London because my mother and her two sisters were crying at the bus stop. My three cousins and I jumped on a bus to go to the railway station. I couldn't understand why they were all crying. Looking back on that day, I was too young to understand what was happening to my family. It was unreal - the crying, my cousins, the bus then the long train journey.

Once on the train, all I can remember was how long the journey was. I felt tired and hungry and wondered where I would sleep that night. My three cousins were older than me so I guess they could talk to each other and help each other. Although they looked after me on the journey, I do recall feeling lonely and lost. Eventually, the train stopped at Cardiff, and we were taken to a church hall in the middle of the city where we spent the night sleeping on the floor. I can remember looking around and seeing my school friends dotted around the hall, that made we feel better. The next day we were taken in an open topped truck on the last part of the journey up a valley. I can't remember how long it took but I remember seeing green mountains each side of the valley. I had never seen countryside like this before. Off the truck, I can remember a lady walking me up a steep hill with rows of houses each side. Without saying a word to me she let go of my hand and walked away down the road. There was no- one in sight. What seemed like hours to me, a lady came rushing down from the front of the house and saw me standing all by myself at the bottom of the steps. She picked me up and took me into the kitchen. She was very upset that I had been left alone in a strange country at five years old. That was the only sad part of being an evacuee. This lady and her husband took great care of me for the next two years.

These good people were called Mr and Mrs Thomas, they told me to call them aunty and uncle. They had a grown daughter who lived at home because her husband was in the forces. They were very affectionate and loving towards me but I felt the daughter was jealous of their affection. She had lost the baby she was expecting so that was probably the reason why I felt her hostility The house I lived in was quite big but it had no inside bathroom. . Bath night and hair washing took place every Friday night, however, Mr Thomas was a coal miner and came home each day black all over. When I saw him black all over I didn't recognise who it was when he spoke to me So bath night was a daily event for him. The bath was a long metal bath that hung on the wall outside the kitchen. Lots of kettles were needed to fill the bath which took place in front of the fire. All of this was very strange to me because we had an indoor bath and toilet at home in London. After a while I got used to this new way of life.

The Thomas family went to a Baptist chapel every Sunday. Mrs Thomas wrote to my parents and asked my mother if I could go with them, as I was a Jew. This worked out well as I attended chapel with the Thomas' on Sunday and then attended a small synagogue two evenings a week to learn Hebrew. The only awkward thing that caused concern from my parents when they visited me, was they noticed that I was underfed. I had a fast metabolism that caused me to be underweight. This was soon put right and no harm remained.

Two years later I returned to my home in London where to the amusement of the family I had adopted a very Welsh accent. I was in constant demand to speak to everyone - just to hear my accent. Just imagine I was still only seven years when I returned home. The war was still on but the whole family stayed together through it until peace returned.
Back to top Go down
therowfamily
Super user
Super user
avatar

Posts : 529
Join date : 2010-03-09

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:31 pm

This is from my husband.

I was evacuated from Southsea in August 1940, I went by train to Liverpool and Joined the SS Llanstephan Castle which sailed on the evening of 24 August 1940 bound for South Africa. I was fortunate to catch this ship, as although this was my supposed destination, due to a false air raid in Portsmouth, it must have been on the 20th or 21st of August I missed the train and had to wait for the next one which had the children bound for Canada. My Mother was told that if I arrived in Liverpool before the ship (Llanstephan Castle) sailed I would join that, if not I would join the ship (SS Volendam) going to Canada, she was not told the names of the ships. When I arrived in Liverpool I was taken by car direct to the docks and hurried up the gangway very shortly before it was removed as we sailed, literally 15 minutes after I boarded. The SS Volendam was in fact torpedoed, luckily there was no loss of life amongst the children, although some of them later joined the SS City of Benares which was sunk with the loss of about 90 evacuees. My Mother, as I found out years later had no knowledge as to whether I had caught the South African bound ship or not, it was not until many weeks later that she received the obligatory letter which we all had to send on arrival at the destination, that she knew where I was.

I went firstly to a holding centre at the Cape Jewish orphanage where I stayed for about 6 weeks, I then went with a batch of children and an escort by train to Johannesburg. I do not recollect clearly how we were chosen, but I was selected and went with a couple who had obviously been vetted by the reception committee which was led by a lovely lady called Mrs Meyer. The house where I stayed was very nice and it was on the edge of the town, I was treated well and started to go to the local school. I do remember very clearly going for a walk in the local countryside and finding a bullet, which I think must have been something like a .303. I took this back 'home' and went into the couples shed, there I put the bullet in the vice and with a hammer and a nail I detonated it. There was an almighty bang, I was completely disorientated, I could neither hear nor see for quite some length of time, eventually my senses returned, I found that the window of the shed had blown out, the head of the bullet had gone right through the toe of my shoe and apparently passed between my big toe and the next, only slightly burning me, the case had flown out of the vice and struck me under the right eye, which was already swelling and completely shut. Nobody had heard the bang, so I went to my bedroom and got in bed. About 2 hours later the lady of the house called me for dinner, when I said that I was not hungry she guessed something was wrong, as a 10 year old growing lad was always hungry. When she came into my bedroom and pulled back the eiderdown, she screamed and rushed of to call her husband, after getting the doctor and ascertaining that there was no life threatening damage, I was well and truly in the dog house. Mrs Meyer was summoned and I was moved to another house within a few days. This only lasted a few weeks and again I was shifted. Altogether I was in 4 houses until Mrs Meyer herself took charge of me.

I loved her home, her husband Mr Theo Meyer and their son Nigel were all very nice to me, I remember the study had bookshelves lined with National Geographic magazines, which I read for hours. However due to their social and work schedules I was put into boarding school. Firstly into St Georges Home for Children, then Jeppe High School and finally Houghton College. It was whilst I was at St Georges that I was in a scout group and we were camping somewhere up north of Pretoria, each tent had 3 boys, it was about three am when the back of the tent was ripped open and a male lion,s head appeared in the gap, I was the nearest and my screams immediately woke the other 2 lads and we fled under the opposite side of the tent, the screams obviously were sufficient to scare the lion, wake up the rest of the camp, but in the mean-time the three of us had rushed up the nearest tree. By this time everybody was wide awake and wondering what had occurred, we gabbled on about the lion, it was only when the tracker studied the ground behind the tent that they believed us, it was a very big lion, to which I could not have agreed more. In the intervening period we realised that the tree that we had all shinned up was a tree known as a 'wait a bit' (Vag un bitje) tree in South Africa owing to the fact that it had nearly 3" thorns, none of us had felt a thing on the way up, but we were unable to climb down. It took ages waiting for the dawn, when we could gingerly make our way down, breaking of thorns en-route, with assistance from those below. To see a lion had been one of my dreams when I had opted to go to S. Africa in the first place, I did not envisage seeing one at such close quarters.

Altogether I spent from September 1940 until September 1945 in S/A, when I returned on the SS Mauritania. Within 3 months I had joined the Royal Navy. One very puzzling thing was that I had obviously replied to a letter from my Mother, where she must have asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I had replied that I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer in a Submarine. I joined the RN in January 1946 at HMS GANGES as a boy seaman, a few years later I went into Submarine service having changed to the electrical branch, in January 1963 I was commissioned, it was then that my Mother sent me my letter, and yes, I was now an Electrical Engineer in a S/M, I had no knowledge of ever having written it! All these memories keep popping up.
Back to top Go down
willowsend
Mega user
Mega user
avatar

Posts : 2189
Join date : 2009-11-10

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:39 pm

What a fantastic response, T I am chuffed to bits
Back to top Go down
mrswinston
Registered user
Registered user


Posts : 13
Join date : 2009-10-12

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:20 pm

My young sister and I were evacuated to Ipswich on the first of September 1939. I can’t really remember the preparations but I do remember being on the train at Ilford Station and arriving in Ipswich. We were taken to a church hall I think and then were allowed to have some of the goodies out of the bag we had all been given (I remember there were custard cream biscuits and a tin of corned beef and I think some chocolate but what else I’ve forgotten although I do remember the brown paper carrier bag it was in!)

There were lots of people about and a lot of noise then this elderly lady said yes she would take me and my sister. We went to Felixstowe Road in a car (we weren’t used to cars and were a bit afraid). The lady’s name was Mrs Chipperfield and she had a husband, a daughter and a son. The daughter (Violet known as Auntie Vi to us) was staying with her at the time on holiday from Wirral in Cheshire where she lived with her husband. The son (Uncle Fred to us) lived a few doors away from Mr & Mrs Chipperfield with his wife Evelyn. Fred was a grocer and a part time Special Constable. He was quite chubby, has a big moustache and was great fun. Auntie Vi was beautiful and took great care of us whilst she was there. Aunty and Uncle Chips (as we called Mr & Mrs Chipperfield ) looked after us very well; quite differently from how we were used to. Strict but in a different way from how our parents were strict. The first night we slept well in a huge double bed with a feather mattress – we had a lovely bedroom too. Next morning we got up and had breakfast and then we stood at the gate watching the trolleybuses go by and feeling very miserable and grizzling a bit. We found it peculiar at first as we had constant attention, which we weren’t used to coming from a big family, but soon settled down. No tantrums allowed there but no clips round the ear either. Food was regulated to times and amounts but very varied and nutritious even if rationing was on. Aunty Chips made cakes every week and we were allowed to choose one sort each ( she baked several – all large cakes to be sliced in portions ). We ate in the garden whenever possible. Uncle Chips used to take us on long walks by the River Orwell and told us about the birds and animals around and the flowers. We used to love it. Laura – my sister – was sent to school fairly quickly I believe but us older ones never went to a school until much later and I don’t remember anything about it except that it was called Nacton Road School. We went to people’s houses and were taught in front rooms for a while but it was a bit of a farce. If I remember rightly the schools for older children were overflowing. We were invited to the Junior school sometimes for events and we went there in the school breaks to help look after animals and things and we saw hen eggs hatch out and were astounded at such a feat I remember. Life went on, Mum and Dad visited a couple of times. It was a cold winter and our parents were instructed to send us warm clothing and wellies and we had knitted pixie hoods, never been so well dressed and no hand me downs! Christmas came and Auntie Vi came back and her husband (Uncle Jim) came for the actual holiday days. He brought us a large box of Terry’s All Gold chocolates – what a treat – and we were allowed two each day and were allowed to give the others one each and no more. Auntie said normally we were to share things but as sweets were rare and we had never had such a treat before we were to be allowed to keep them for ourselves. We savoured those chocolates and, of course, they lasted a long time. We had lots of presents, not in the league of today’s children at Christmas but many more than we were used to, so we had some on Christmas Day and some on Boxing Day.

We used to be taken to town sometimes. We walked with Uncle, and Auntie went on the trolleybus. Sometimes we came back on the trolleybus but sometimes we had to walk. It was quite a long way but we loved it. The grocery shop Uncle Fred worked in was a really olde worlde shop in the Buttermarket. They used to pat the butter into packs and everything was weighed up from large containers. We were fascinated by it all. And a couple of times we were taken to the pictures, queue up for an hour then front row ninepenny seats. We had to crane our necks upwards to see but it was lovely - Gracie Fields in Singing Sally and Sing As We Go. We never went to the pictures at home!

I realize now that they were not very well off but managed what money they had very well and we were included in treats.

In May we were told we were to be moved and had to write a postcard to tell parents, to be posted by the school just telling them we were moving but not where to. Aunty Chips telephoned our parents (from the call box across the road – few had their own telephone) and they said they would come and fetch us. It was a Friday and they picked us up on Saturday morning (we had to be ready because Dad had to get a taxi from the station and we went straight back). I remember the journey home – we didn’t know whether we wanted to go back or not. Anyway the rest of those who weren’t collected by parents were sent to Wales on the Saturday afternoon. On that Saturday night Ipswich had its first air raid so someone knew a thing or two. (We did have a warning siren go off on the day war was declared – third of September – and we had to don gas masks and sit under the table but it was a false alarm).

Really the evacuation as far as we were concerned was just a long holiday interspersed with lessons which weren’t difficult to handle, and new friends and a completely different environment from that which we had been in before.

We kept in touch with Aunty and Uncle Chips and they came to our weddings although poor Uncle Chips went blind. They are all gone now but we shall never forget them.

I moved to Norfolk when I retired, in a country village, and I realize that the walks with Uncle Chips weren’t wasted. Perhaps they were part of the reasons for me moving to the country from London! and then onto Bg.
Back to top Go down
oddball
Moderator
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 7041
Join date : 2009-10-20
Age : 59

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:27 pm

T All for sharing your stories very interesting reading.

_________________
Berni & Dougie [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Back to top Go down
http://www.bulgariaorphanagesillistra.com
Thomas
Junior user
Junior user
avatar

Posts : 49
Join date : 2009-09-25

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:07 am

In 1938, all school children were issued with gas masks. Neville Chamberlain had just returned from Munich with his famous piece of paper. Education at this time called for pupils of 11 years of age to take a entrance examination which would stream them to other more senior schools (Eleven Plus). I was given the right to a 'free place' in a grammar school if I could pass their entrance examination. So I entered entrance exams for St. Olave's Grammar School - Brockley Grammar School and a school sited in New Cross - Addey and Stanhope Grammar School. The first exam result came through for Addey and Stanhope so my father suggested that I join that school at once as war was looming on the horizon. Operation Pied Piper was put into effect just days after my entry to the school. One September morning we were herded into buses for the railway station and entrained for our unknown destination. Other members of my family were sent elsewhere. Eldest sister Joan was evacuated to Hastings, two younger sisters sent Hailsham in Sussex and I was on my way to Burwash, Sussex. Arrived at the destination, wearing our identity labels and carrying our few belongings in knapsacks or fibre suitcases and of course our gas masks in a small cardboard box strung around the neck. We must have looked a scruffy bunch, because the journey of only 60 or so miles had taken a very long time. We were lined up for inspection by the villagers who selected the child / children of their choice. My first billet was with a family with two sons who tormented me unmercifully. I wasn't allowed to write home without my letter being read by the landlady, however I managed to smuggle a letter to Dad who came to the village and arranged for me to be moved. The next home was with a very kind couple, Mr and Mrs Booth at the other end of the Burwash village. He was a chauffeur for a lady who lived in a big house at the end of the driveway. They had one son, Ken, aged about 15, who was very friendly to me. In fact the family treated me as a second son. Ken worked as a butcher boy and I would often visit the shop and help at the slaughterhouse. Mum and Dad came down to see me as often as they could, the school arranged special parent's trips, and they would also send me a shilling each week. They now had their family spread out all over Sussex. Addey and Stanhope School held the classes in a large mansion in Burwash Common. My lodgings were at the corner of the country lane, which led to the house of the famous writer and poet, Rudyard Kipling. Sadly, with the war going badly for the Allies, Dunkirk, the evacuation of troops from the continent it was decided by the authorities that we should be moved from the South of England and we entrained for a village in South Wales (Garnant). There I stayed until deciding to return to London to live with my mother after my father was called away to Scotland to work in the docks there.
Back to top Go down
lambchops
Registered user
Registered user


Posts : 16
Join date : 2009-10-11

PostSubject: Re: World War 2   Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:33 pm

Well done to Brian for starting this topic
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: World War 2   

Back to top Go down
 

World War 2

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next

 Similar topics

-
» Review of the Maximilian from New World Arabelst
» Land Rover World Record Attempt, Gaydon 23-24 April 2011 (Easter weekend)
» Subaroute - around the world drive
» Old World Vipers
» Latitude - circumnavigation of the world

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: ExPat Lounge-