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"Doing our bit for the War effort"

by Lancshomeguard

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Archive List > Family Life

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Vera Smith
Location of story: 
Queens Drive, Stoneycroft, Liverpool
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
29 July 2005

This story has been submitted to the People's War website by Jenny Finch of the Lancshomeguard on behalf of Vera Smith and added to the site with her permission.

My Mum worked permanent nights at Kirkby munitions factory and as a result she got toxic poisoning. It turned her hair and skin yellow she died due to the amount of toxins that had got into her system. Each night before she left for work she would settle us down to sleep safely under the stairs and every morning rush home to cuddle us crying, “Thank God you are all alright”.

During the war every Saturday and Sunday my Mum and sisters and I took cakes and tea and sandwiches making a picnic for the wounded soldiers who were being nursed at Alder Hey Hospital- they would be out in the huge conservatory some very badly wounded-and we would sit and talk with them-they looked forward to us going-It was our effort for the war and we were happy to do it—the boys were so grateful and after the war we received parcels and letters of thanks.

In 1943 I became an auxiliary nurse on the orthopaedic ward at Alder Hey Hospital looking after children who had sustained horrific injuries. One little girl I remember so well-she had the face of an Angel and had been badly scalded —her parents never came to visit her and it upset me so much.

I used to enjoy dancing at the Grafton everyone let their hair down and forgot about the war for a short while. People were so unselfish and brave - all pulling together. We had a great sense of purpose.

I got engaged in Queens Drive air raid shelter and married aged twenty in 1942. My husband was killed in Burma in 1944. Before he was posted he said “We are shipping out either to Italy or to Burma—if I go to Burma I will never come back”. I can see my husband now just before he left- he was cleaning his rifle and he said to our son who was just eighteen months old- “I hope you never have to clean one of these son”.
Saying goodbye at stations was one of the most heartbreaking things a loved one could do during the war- such tearful goodbyes and the not knowing if you would see them again was unbearable.

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