- Contributed by
- Bradford Libraries, Archives and Information Service
- People in story:
- Constance M Galilee, nee Broadley
- Location of story:
- Wharfedale, Yorkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 12 August 2004
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Carol Greenwood of Bradford Libraries on behalf of Constance M Galilee and has been added to the the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
My parents owned a chalet in Wharfedale, where we spent a great deal of time. We were there when the "Parachute scare" arose, one August during the war. It may have become a joke, but the authorities took the threat very seriously at the time and the LDV were out in force.
LDV - Local Defence Volunteers- colloquially know as "Look, duck and vanish" consisted of young lads, reserved occupation farmers and gallant old chaps prepared to risk life and limb for their country.
A girl friend and I were roped in to carry messages between the "troops" and HQ. We also carried hot soup, flasks of tea and food to the outposts.
Every road was guarded by somebody (fully armed, I may say) crouched in a ditch. At least in the country everyone had shotguns of some kind. A "sparks" stayed in the hut (HQ) listening to the broadcasts with information and speculation.
This went on all night. The alert was called off at about 9am and everyone mustered to report- nothing unusual. Suddenly someone said "Where's Harry?" Poor Harry had ben overlooked and was still crouching in a nasty damp ditch. Well nothing happened on that occasion but the civilian population took it as a warning. All manner of weapons were dug out, old bayonets sharpened, large pepper pots placed in all rooms and by all doors, lethal kitchen knives at the ready. Inspired by Churchill's "we will fight them in the streets, the houses, we shall never give in" I really think that the poor old German paratroopers might have had a very rough time of it had they come.
There was a well authenticated account of one of our ferry pilots making a forced landing in the south of England and being marched in triumph to the local lock-up, prodded along with hay forks. I tell you the English had really got their blood up. Thank goodness we never knew how very close we came to defeat. We never did know and I hope we never do.
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