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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
mary duckworth (nee malone)
People in story: 
Mary Duckworth (nee Malone)
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
15 November 2003

In the early days of June 1944, the ruined streets of southampton came to life again. They filled with army vehicles of all types heading for the docks; queuing up as they waited their turn to load on to the boats.
I was a wren working in the signals office on the top floor of the Royal Yacht Club, overlooking one of the landing hards.
As I walked from my billet in Archers Rd, I was part of an amazing scene. Tanks queued up, filling the street as far as the eye could see. Householders dragged their piano outside for a great singsong and soldiers threw down their coppers for the children, saying they didnt expect to need money again. (many children had returned to their homes even though the schools were closed and had been used for army accommodation)
One little girl died under the track of a tank in her eagerness for pennies.
On the night of June 6th, all activity had ceased. All vehicles had embarked. The American doughnut stall had gone and it was silent except for the drone of a distant plane.
It was a poor night weatherwise about three in the morning. I stood at the window of our little top floor office in the Yacht club. The teleprinters were silent and there were no American sailors to chat to as they brought in their signals for onward transmission. My imagination followed that vast flotilla down the Solent and across the Channel. It had been a long war and I was tired. Millions of men and women had worked for years for this day. Now was the moment of truth. I was very afraid.
A few days later it all woke up again. Life changed - I remember comforting girls who had lost their boy friends later from the same
window, Ilooked down on long lines of POWs. Very young and very bedraggled.
Mary Duckworth (nee Malone)

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