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Alice's War Memories

by Lancshomeguard

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Lancshomeguard
People in story: 
Alice Vera Houldgreaves
Location of story: 
Preston Lancs.
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4164914
Contributed on: 
07 June 2005

This story has been added to the People’s War website by Anne Wareing of the Lancashire Home Guard on behalf of Alice Vera Houldgreaves and has been submitted to the site with her permission…

I was a child of twelve and living in Preston when the war broke out and I remember that to me it all seemed very exciting, a bit of an adventure.

My first memory is my family. It family consisted of my parents, two sisters and a brother and I recall my parents ‘kitting’ out under the stairs with two forms to sit on, rugs, blankets, a torch and probably biscuits.

When the sirens went off, usually at night time, we all hurried down stairs and sat under them, huddled up together. We would try to sing songs or tell stories to keep our spirits up, but I think seeing the fear in our parents eyes made us realize the great danger we were in and that this was not just an adventure.

My second outstanding memory was of when I was about 14. I attended a ‘life saving’ course at Saul St. Baths, which had been organized by my school. My friend and I went to the baths this particular day after school and we had just finished our swim and were about to go home, when we were told the siren had just sounded and we couldn’t leave the building. We were ushered down to the basement, which to us children was great fun. The basement was vast! All the pipes that warmed the two pools ran along the walls and it was lovely and warm. We ran about and played, just forgetting the time until some older people there reminded us. I then realized how hungry I was and how worried Mum would be. Eventually the all clear was given and we were allowed out. When I got home I told Mum what had happened and I remember she wasn’t too pleased, though no doubt happy to see me safe.

My third memory was at 17 and I was working at the Post Office, when they asked for volunteers to do two weeks helping the Land Army girls. I volunteered and was billeted at Preston Brook near Warrington in a Nissen hut with six other girls. It really was hard work! I certainly appreciated just what the Land Army did. At night we looked across the fields and saw Liverpool ablaze, what a horrific sight. No; war was no longer an adventure.

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