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Crocodile Bags

by ageconcernbradford

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Joan Staunton nee Marley
Location of story: 
Bradford, West Yorkshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
02 August 2004

This story was submitted to the People`s War site by Alan Magson of Age Concern Bradford and District on behalf of Joan Staunton and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site`s terms and conditions.

I was born in 1939, the year that World War 2 started, as my father used to tease me about, implying that I was a naughty child !

Dad was called up by the Army and posted to Sierra Leone in West Africa as A Radio Operator in 1941 and was there for four years.

It was a very difficult time for my mother on her own looking after three young children, my eldest sister was four years old, I was two and my brother only six months old.

My recollections are the black-out blinds and the sirens which meant we had to leave the house and take refuge in the Air Raid Shelter in the garden and wear our gas masks for protection. In fact we had to carry our gas masks with us at all times.

Food of course was rationed and very scarce and we were always hungry !

At the end of the war, my Dad was de-mobbed and returned home in his uniform and carrying his kit-bag. I remember opening the door and looking at a tall man in Army uniform and feeling very frightened as I did not recognise my own father after four years. ( That was another thing he teased
me about over the years )

However, when Dad unpacked his Kit-bag we were so excited with his gifts from Africa, two leather shoulder bags for my sister and I, made from crocodile skin and green silk lingerie for Mum.

We treasured our bags for many years.

Thankfully, Dad was not injured during the war but suffered badly from malaria.

It was wonderful to have Dad back home safe and well after such a long time.

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Crocodile Bags

Posted on: 02 August 2004 by Audrey Lewis - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Ageconcernbradford,
Please pass on my appreciation of Joan Staunton's story. I found it most interesting. I can just imagine her receiving that special bag - all the way from Africa. Did it take her long to get to know her dad again?
Audrey Lewis

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Childhood and Evacuation Category
Family Life Category
Bradford and West Yorkshire Category
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