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- 07 November 2003
I was born in 1938, so have no memories of before the war at all, and grew up in the black-out. As a family we were lucky in that my Father was a science teacher, which was a reserve occupation, so he was not called up, but was involved with the ATC.
Doncaster was surrounded by bomber stations, and all we little kids were used to the various engine noises of the different planes - no problem in identifying them at all.
Because Father was involved with the RAF, albeit on the side-lines, he fetched me out of bed one evening. I was probably about 5 or 6 and excited about being out in the garden in the dark. He wanted me to watch the sky because the planes were gathering there for one of the big bomber raids over Berlin. The noise was horrendous, but it was very dark and although he kept pointing things out to me, I couldn't see anything. I concluded it was becasue I was lower down than him!! My memory was of the incredible noise.
Although it may seem strange to present day children, we were perfectly happy about black-out. We grew up with it, and it seemed quite natural. On V E night, my parents took me into the centre of Doncaster. It was terrrible! there were lights in shop windows, and people were shining torches up into the sky! I thought - at the age of 7 - that people would get into trouble.
Two years after the war it becames apparent that I should have been wearing glasses, but no-one knows exactly what they can or cannot see. No wonder I couldn't see the bombers. Even that I was so at home in the blackout.
Even now, as an old age pensioner, I am far moe happy to be out in the real darkness of the countryside than many of my younger friends who did not grow up in the blackout, and not being able to see.
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