Memories of Emily’s Grandma – Edith Batty
She was lucky as was evacuated with her little brother to Scotland, to stay with her Grandparents in Ayr. She didn’t notice the rationing much apart from there being less diary. They didn’t really have much trouble with bombs. She said she used to like listening to the radio to hear about Germans being shot down in their planes, until her grandpa told her that is wasn’t a very nice thing to do. Her dad Dr McLean didn’t have to go to fight.
Emily’s thoughts – She was lucky that she got to stay with people she knew in a place she knew. Also her parents didn’t go off to fight. I find it inspiring how her Grandpa didn’t like how people, even the enemy being killed.
Memories of Family Friend – Mike Farrant
Mike was evacuated to Cornwall for 18 months during the war. One Sunday he and his carers were walking home from church when a German bomber flew over, being chased and shot at by a British fighter. However, because they were under the German plane there were pellets shooting down around them. When I asked if it was a scary experience, he said that they were too busy being excited and looking for bullets to be scared.
Nicola’s thoughts – This was just one of the many stories and memories Mike had to tell me. One of the things that inspired me the most was that he said there was a “war time spirit” when everybody helped one another and actually spoke to different people. It seems the war was a good way of bringing people together. He then said that spirit and community is something that we seem to have lost, which I agree with. It’s sad that it took a war to bring people together.
Memories of Michael’s Granddad – Terrance McGough
I had seen the after mouth of a bombing on the Woodpecker Pub and Stephenson’s shop. A local still stands after the war. Further down the road was Joe Bray’s factory that made ammunition, the bombers had got the wrong side of the church spire, if the bomb had hit its target the whole factory would have gone up in flames. One night a flare had landed near the entrance of the bomb shelter I was in. My mother was friends with Canadian airmen and they would come round to the flat. Mr Emmott bought a fish shop before the war and never opened it until after the war. There was a coal shortage during the war; I had to walk to Meadow Lane at 5am to get two bags of coal. I remember a mother and daughter charging men from Dunkirk in order to have a bath and for a bowl of soup.
Michael’s thoughts – I thought they were lucky people to still have a place to live and work under the threat of them being bombed. I thought a few actions of people during the war was wrong especially towards the men returning from Dunkirk. I think we are very lucky to had modern day technology and entertainment instead of having to listen to the “wireless” or play “kick out can”.
Memories of Danielle’s Grandma – Margaret McGough
My Grandmother was evacuated when she was 5 years old, with her brother to Harrogate when WW2 started. The people who she and her brother were evacuated to were brilliant but were really posh. In her spare time she read, drew, completed jigsaws or listened to the radio. She also learnt to knit. After six weeks my grandmother and her brother managed to convince their parents to let them return home.
Danielle’s thoughts – I think it’s cool that my Grandma can remember all of this especially since she was so young. It’s amazing that she just wanted to go home even if there were bombs being dropped. Their routines only changed a little. I’m amazed that their lives during the war just seemed so normal to them.
Memories of Georgia’s Grandparents – Colin & Marjory Ramsden
My Grandma told me that when the war was over their neighbours had a street party. After the party her sister, her Mum and herself went to meet her Dad at the tram station as he was a soldier coming back from Egypt. “Were were there for hours” my Grandma chuckled. It turned out he had fallen asleep on the tram but luckily he wasn’t wounded. (She was 15 when the war ended).
Granddad was evacuated with his brother the day before WW2 broke out to Austerfield (2 miles from Bomber Command, Finningly). As he was with his brother and there being two of them, they were the last to be selected. He was five at the time and his brother seven and they were placed with a man called Mr Binks, on a farm. Mr Binks was married to the local headmistress he didn’t spend any time on the farm so my Granddad and his brother ended up with Mr Binks two sisters and his 90 year old Mum. The 90 year old women had a bad temper and if they did anything bad or argued with each other she would whack them with a wet dish cloth on the back of their legs. She never missed! Overall my Granddad said the farm was really exciting as being from the town he had never milked a cow; he also nearly became dead meat when he fell in the pig pen, but the farmers were quick to get him out. They stayed on the farm for 6 months as it was more dangerous next to Bomber command in Finningly than back in Leeds where not as many bombs were dropped.
Christmas was very different then to what it is now. He said when it was Christmas and you wanted to make cakes you couldn’t purchase currents, but you could get prunes. His Mum used to make him sit with scissors cutting the prunes into current sized pieces. They didn’t have Christmas decorations like lights or tinsel so my Granddad got hawthorn branches and stuck multicoloured pieces of popcorn onto the thorns to make decorations. My Granddad also said all the presents were second hand so if you got an annual with puzzles in them, they would already have been filled in, you would spend half of Christmas rubbing the answers out.
Memories of Matthew’s Grandad Garside
My Grandad was once asked by my Mum why he had a Bengal silver spoon in his drawers and this is his story. His platoon was on a train to India and were told by their General that as soon as they got into the city there would be an inspection and that they would be expected to have “everything from boots to cutlery”. This reminded my Grandad and the men in his platoon that they had no cutlery. At the next station they got off, went into an Indian restaurant ordered a meal, took the cutlery and boarded the train again, it was a great day for mankind.
Matthew’s thoughts – This proves that WWII was a desperate time and people had to live with what they could get. I don’t exactly know what this has to do with the war but this is what he said.
Memories of Leah’s Granny Betty Kirton
My Grandma told me that when the war started she was only 5 years old and she was not able to go to her public school because army tanks used to drive down her street, so she had to go to a grammar school with older girls. The most tragic thing that happened was her friend was killed during an air raid she never saw her again. The most exciting thing she saw was a plane crash on the horse racing field. She only had a few rations and her mother made her clothes for her. She was 11 when the war ended and had lost half her friends. The main attacks were on Edinburgh and she lived in Mussleborough in Scotland.
Leah’s thoughts – I thought my Grandma’s story was quite upsetting when she had lost her friends but I thought that she had some very interesting journeys through the war.
Memories of Emma’s Grandma Isabella Bolton
The thing I remember most about the WWII was having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the shelter. We had an Anderson shelter outside and the sirens were deafeningly loud. I used to cry every night because my father was away at war for six years. I remember always wondering if he was going to come home. I remember rationing; we only got 4oz of sweets a week and only one egg.
Emma’s thoughts – I have realised how it must have felt if any of your family members were away at war, and not knowing when they were going to come back or if they were going to come back at all.
Memories of John’s Grandma – Joyce Hill
After rationing, fruit and vegetables became very rare and you could only get some using a green ration book. People had to adapt recipes. My Auntie Gerty lived at 3 Abbey Street and had five evacuees from Liverpool who I played with. I was involved in an air raid, and had to shelter in the undercroft beneath the Cathedral. At first I was very frightened. The first air raid siren I heard was 10 minutes after England declared war on Germany. In Chester the warning of invasion was church bells ringing. During one air-raid a land mine was dropped to hit the bell making it ring. Everyone rushed out expecting Germans. A lot of people from Liverpool came to Chester as evacuees. My dad was in the Home Guard (Dads Army) and they looked after prisoners of war. One of my friends actually married a German prisoner of war at the end of the war.
John’s thoughts – I think that in the war people were incredibly brave because my Grandma said that if it had been her in the war with her kids she wouldn’t know what to do and she would be very sacred.
Memories of Caroline’s Grandad – Charles Roy Revens
During the war I thought the Germans were awful, because they were trying to rule the world and they were vulgar, they thought they were the ruling class. The rationing was sufficient but you had to watch how much you were eating as it needed to last the whole week, or at the end of the week you would be short of food. I enjoyed a few things about the war, such as spending a lot of time with friends, especially when we were all trying to make the best of things in the air raid shelter. The worst part of the war was that you were very restricted. Also, when bombs were dropping you didn’t want your name on the bomb. When I was evacuated I had the time of my life! I got away from the chaos and I was quite happy because the Germans weren’t dropping bombs.
I was evacuated to 39 Fylde Street, Kirkham to live with a lady who worked in a cheese factory. I ate a lot of vegetables, because they were easy to get, and bacon, however, that was rationed. I had a lot of rabbits to eat, plus cheese and meat pie. I missed oranges and bananas. When I heard the air raid siren everyone rushed off to the Anderson shelter. We had to stay there until another siren went off to tell us that we could go home. Once inside the shelter I played cards and dominos then just twiddled my thumbs until it was over. When it rained the shelter became flooded and we had to stand in pools of water.
Caroline’s thoughts – These memories have really made me think about how the war affected people and individuals. It helped me see the war from different angles. Although many people suffered and died, there were a lot of positives which came from the war, such as the way people came together in times of need, families and friends supported each other, and the way that communities helped everyone survive. On top of this hearing about the war from someone I know – my Grandad and his experiences was interesting to hear, because his memories involved my family and places I have been, making WW2 seem more personal to me.