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Dodging the Incendiary bombs in Glengormley

by Norma Ingram nee Hughes

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Archive List > The Blitz

Contributed by 
Norma Ingram nee Hughes
People in story: 
Anne Lucinda Milliken
Location of story: 
Glengormley Northern Ireland
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5817611
Contributed on: 
19 September 2005

My parents: John Norman Hughes and Anne Lucinda Milliken, Bellevue Zoo, Glengormley 1947

My mothers name is Annie Lucinda Milliken (now Hughes) she was born 21 January 1928, She is 77 years old and now lives in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim Northern Ireland. This is some of her story.

During the war I lived at Sally Gardens and Hillview in Glengormley with my father, mother, sister and twin brothers. I was about 13 at the time. We knew the war had started but there had not been any air raids until one Sunday night I was upstairs looking out of the front room window and I saw flashes over Belfast, I though they were fireworks. I did not realise that the Germans had bombed the city until the next mornng when people streamed from the city into the country looking for a place to stay, as they were terrified to stay in their own homes. A young couple from the city came to our home to ask if they could sleep at our home during the nights rather than be in Belfast. My mother, only too willing to help converted our large dinning room into a bedroom for them. So every night after dinner the couple would come to our home and stay until the next morning. Not long after that German pilots dropped flairs and incendiary bombs to see where our railway stations where situated. Some dropped on the road in front of our house, we all ran out as they could set the house on fire. My mother had to jump over one as we all ran to the fields and hid in the ditches.

We could hear the German planes over head, the sound of their engines were different from our own, they made a droning sound. On another day a land mine dropped in Sally Gardens just outside our house, lucky it did not go off for we would have been killed. When it was coming down it was as if all the air was being sucked out of the room and all four of us children made a dash for the door and all got jammed in it. It is funny now, but not at the time.

When the air raids started there were three blasts on the horn and one for the all clear.

We also had what was called the blackout, no lights were allowed to shine or no street lights lit, everywhere was pitch black. You would have been fined by the warden if your lights could have been seen from the street.

Not far from where we lived was Belfast Zoo and the lions and polar bears sadly had to be shot in case they got out and killed someone.

We also had gas masks, which we carried everywhere even to school, for fear of Hitler dropping poisonous gas. Thank goodness we never needed to use them.

I think we were very lucky living in the country as some parts of Belfast were completely destroyed and sadly many people died.

We all had ration books for food, even sweets and clothes had to be bought with coupons if there was any left. There was one good thing we were all skinny, no fat on us.

Whilst we lived at Hillview, my father used to work for a farmer on the side of the Cave Hill. One day on his way up the mountain he found a light aircraft which had crashed. When he looked inside there was a pilot, he was alive. He appeared to have a broken leg. My father lifted him on his back and carried him down to the farm at the bottom of the hill and then took him on to hospital. He would have died only for father saving him. We believe he was German. I wonder who is was, and where he is today! The article about this rescue appeared in the Belfast Telegraph at the time.

When the war ended everyone crowded on to the streets of Belfast. It was a great day of celebration. Things were still rationed for a long while after but at last Hilter was beaten. We had won the war.

Little did I know at this time that I would marry a Belfast lad who was to join the Royal Irish Fusiliers and be station in Egypt. His name is John Norman Hughes and I married him on 21 March 1948 in St Lukes Presbyterian Church, Belfast. Sadly he passed away on 30 April 2003.

You can read his story of army life in Egypt titled: A Royal Irish Fusilier in Egypt.

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