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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Norfolk Wartime Memories

by Norfolk Adult Education Service

Contributed by 
Norfolk Adult Education Service
People in story: 
Colin Wright
Location of story: 
Norfolk Coast
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3642112
Contributed on: 
09 February 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Lesley Carrick of the Norfolk Learning Partnership on behalf of Colin Wright and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was born in 1939 off the Holway Road in Sheringham. I used to have to shelter under the kitchen table, which had girders and chain link sides. At night my father would carry me outside to watch the bombers coming over. Weybourne Camp never opened up against them because it was more or less a secret camp, and it would have given them away. The sky was black with those bombers.

My Dad was essential personnel, working on the aeroplanes at Coltishall. He was building manager and biked to work at Coltishall every day for 20 years. He had to enlist with the local Home Guard and came home with a broom handle with a kitchen carving knife at the top. A bit later he was given a rifle with a bayonet, and finally he got some ammunition. He used to practice at the Butts down at West Runton.

Sometimes they closed Coltishall if there was a ‘flap’ on, and once Dad was late and couldn’t get out in time. He was back after midnight and so missed his Home Guard muster. When he did get home the police were waiting for him.

Dad’s patrol was from the golf links and along the coast. There were big machine gun posts along that bit of coast protecting the shores. Weybourne had the only deep water where craft could get ashore. There were guns on top of Beeston Bump, as well as at the Coast Guard lookout point on the golf links. There’s a maze of tunnels underneath the Coast Guard lookout, where ammunition and shells were stored. I remember one bomb dropped on Beeston Common and demolished a cottage.

I went to school in George Street in Sheringham, but then the school was split up and I went to a large house in The Rise, at the corner with Havelock Road. Milk came into school in small bottles. It was often curdled or frozen but we were made to drink it: “Our boys are dying so that you can drink milk”. If it was like cheese and thick we would have to eat it with a spoon. I threw up, and can’t drink milk even now.

There was a sweetshop on the corner in those days, run by a Miss Wilkinson. She had more coupons than sweets!

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
Rationing Category
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