Memories of Matthew's Grandfather by Terry McGough
I wasn't evacuated at the time so I stayed in Leeds and in my spare time I liked to listen to the radio. I remember that a German air raid had missed a munitions factory because it bombed the wrong side of a church steeple. I lived in a block of flats and I remember that one of my neighbours charged Dunkirk survivors sixpence for a bath and three pence for a bowl of soup. Two soldiers were killed by German airplanes on Eastgate. There was a prisoner of war camp near where Abbey Grange now stands. One local fish owner bought a Fish 'n' Chip shop one week before war broke out and he didn't open it throughout the war as we had to eat Whale meat. Railway Bridge on Marsh Lane has evidence of German airplane shells hitting the wall. Leeds City Museum was bombed. There was a coal shortage so a gas plant had to give two sacks of coal to each person.
Matthew's thoughts – I think that people who lived in big cities had to be brave to stay in the city. I can't believe people made money out of national heroes.
Memories of Charlotte's Grandma by Susan Marshall
My Grandma told me her dad worked in the trenches, but can't tell my anything more as he didn’t make it through the war.
Charlotte’s thoughts – It upset me as I don’t think anyone should get killed in war and knowing my Great-Grandad got killed was upsetting.
Memories of Naomi’s Grandfather by Frank Kettlewell
My Grandad was evacuated to Tockwith, North Yorkshire. An airfield was built during the war on the edge of the village. There were bomber planes based there, ready to go to Germany. In one incident, one of the Halifax bombers, returning from Germany landed in Tockwith’s main street and the postmaster was killed.
Naomi’s thoughts – My Grandad’s story made the war seem very scary. He was evacuated to somewhere it was supposed to be safe but being very near the airfield was dangerous. I feel glad that nothing like this every happened to me.
Memories of Sara’s Grandfather by Jack Henderson
I never met my Grandfather, but he told my father about his experiences and memories from the war. Jack Henderson was born and bred in Northumberland. When WW2 came about, he was a young man and training to become a mechanic, this he decided would be his free ticket out of the violence and fighting that men his age were being sent away to participate in. He always said that he couldn’t imagine himself doing so. My Grandfather was a mechanic in various countries, amidst the disasters and triumphs of war, but still very much in the background. He worked in France and across Europe, Palestine and even at the D-Day landings. It was beyond him that it was possible to see the things he did. He was a very honourable man and I know all of my family are extremely proud of him.
Sara’s thoughts – I think my Grandfather is a good role model and his fear to take part in the mass slaughter that instilled in WW2 was a positive thing, and we share that opinion.
Memories of Marc’s Grandma – Kathleen Wittingham
During the air raids we used to go in the pantry with the neighbours. We used to play board games whilst we waited. Everywhere we went we took our gas masks even to school. Everyone who was not in the war was either in the Home Guard or people who looked for bombs to disarm.
Marc’s thoughts – I thought it must have been very scary to be a child in the war. They must have been very brave to not cry and just try to live normally. It also makes me think how the people back home did so well at coping with the harsh times.
Memories of James’s Grandma – Mrs Kelly
I worked in a factory during the war and was proud to do so. I was scared of the air raids and we shared an air raid shelter with another family.
James’s thoughts – I am inspired by my Grandma because she still had hope and she helped the men at war by making supplies, and because she lived through the war and beat the Germans.
Memories of Jenny’s neighbours – Bob and Mary
1939 Bob aged 18 was in the Air force. He said everyone had to wear a necklace that was cut in half when you died. One half was sent to identify you and the other was buried with you. Mary worked in a new Hoffman’s factory making ball bearings. She was in charge of catering and had to deal with rationing a lot. She had to order all the food for the employees but compared to home, she said they ate extremely well. At home they had to eat dry powered eggs, whale meat and grey bread. Often a village would keep a pig together and get a licence to kill it and share it out to the people that contributed. The air fields also became like small towns, with dentists, shops and hospitals and had their own ways for rationing, for example, in one airfield near Cattrick people were given their Groceries alphabetically , so one week the people beginning with “A” were given an egg etc. A lot of people said the rationing and hard times brought a proper sense of community to people and everyone helped each other out. People used to trade tokens a lot as well, and Mary said that if you were in a town and you saw a queue you’d join it, no matter what it was selling, it was something! If you were sent to hospital as a service man you would wear something called the “hospital blues” blue shirt and trousers and a red tie. The food was inedible in hospitals so people used to buy fish and chips. One night Bob went to buy some for him and his roommates but you were only allowed one fish per person, so he said he’d just buy one, but when he un-did his jacket to get his wallet , and the other people saw his hospital blues, they all gave up their fish.
Jenny’s thoughts – People were kind as everybody was suffering they all understood. I am inspired by the way people cared for each other and put their lives at risk to take care of our Country.