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Childhood Memories

by csvdevon

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
csvdevon
People in story: 
Mrs Deidre Sears; Mrs Gladys Mallard (mother)
Location of story: 
Plymouth
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4517101
Contributed on: 
22 July 2005

This story has been added to the BBC People's War site by Storygatherer Coralie, on behalf of Mrs Deidre Sears. The story has been added to the site with her permission and Mrs Sears fully understands the terms and conditions of the site.

My first memory of World War 2 was as a child. It was my birthday party (7th) and in the middle of it a lady came to the door to fit my Gas Mask, and demonstrate same. It was pink with Micky and Minnie Mouse on it; it also smelt of rubber! It proved to be too small and I had to have an adult ugly one. I sobbed by eyes out, and next day the lady came back with a little brooch and said she was sorry she had ruined my party.

Another memory was when I heard the Siren for the first time. We had been told to take cover when the siren went, and remain so until the 'All Clear' sounded. Mum and I stayed underneath a tiny table for 4 hours. The 'All Clear' never sounded!!

I live in Plympton and daily had to go to school in Plymouth. The buses went up Alexandra Road to Mutley Plain. Sometimes there were bombs around and the buses had to go to Plymouth via the Embankment. Because of a low bridge, the buses couldn't get by, so we walked under the bridge and got on buses the other side.

Another time we awoke to find our little cul-de-sac was full of Indian soldiers on their horses. They were very friendly, but their horses ate everybody's Rowan trees, which were full of berries. They were all gone in two days but we never knew where they had gone.

I had an aunt who lived in Beacon Park. She was a teacher at Camel Head School. One night when they had been in their shelter in the garden, all was quiet and my aunt went out for some air. A land mine landed next door and all the houses collapsed. My aunt was critically injured and lost an eye. Despite 36 operations, she made a good recovery, in time. My grandmother was bombed out of her home in North Road West. I had another aunt who was bombed out of her home in Tothill Avenue.

My mother coped very well and managed to feed us good food. Sometimes Hitler bombed the Gas Works; other times he hit the Electric Works. Never both at once thankfully, and I can see my mother now, frying an egg on an upturned electric fire!!!

Around D-Day, it was decided that we should go down near Crinnis in Cornwall. The first day we wanted to go on the beach. It was full of landing boats (Ducks), and Americans. We were told to go away. 24-hours later it was as though they had never been, and we had a lovely few weeks playing and swimming, and not knowing there was a war on.

At Christmas time, the International Stores always managed to get lovely Australian Rich Fruit Cake and tins of condensed blackcurrant juice, and we were naturally rationed as to how much we could have. Rationing did not do us any harm. We had good nourishing food, our teeth were good and we certainly were not overweight.

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