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WW2 - People's War

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Peoples War Team in the East Midlands
People in story: 
Margaret Gryska (Worrall)
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Contributed on: 
04 August 2005

"This story was submitted to the site by the BBC's Peoples War Team in the East Midlands with Margaret Gryska's permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."

My best memory is of dancing with the airmen, the Americans, the Polish, all the men stationed nearby. We used to make lots of dates and got quite close, but then the time after that when you arranged to see them again they wouldn’t come – they’d been shot down.

One of the airmen wrote me this poem and letter – his name was Sam Swinhoe.

“Take me to utopian lands
Were symbols of great massed long
Strike faith in love end life
End to all immortal strife
End to all this stupid war
Let love reign on forever more

Well darling that is it, don’t tell me what you think of it or I’ll probably be insulted. By the way I’ve got the words for crazy rhythm. There they are. Maisy dote and dosey dote and little bombs eatiney. A kiddly ding too wouldn’t you.”

I enjoyed the dances you easily forgot about the war.

I was a probation nurse and looked after the servicemens children when their families went out to work. While the new nurseries were being built we used to house them in an old workhouse. We used to store the veg in the padded cell – it was a huge joke to lock you in the cell. Eventually we moved into the new place.

I can also remember the sound of the doodle bugs and hiding under the table. They dropped a bomb on the factory just outside Workshop. We really got to know the sounds of the engines.

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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 - Sam Swinhoe

Posted on: 27 August 2005 by MGryska

I'm trying to find out if Sam Swinhoe survived the war or not. He was in the RAF stationed near Worksop. The love letter that he sent me has been posted on this website. I wondered if he continued to write poetry.

To read the poem search the archives for 'gryska'

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