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WW2 - People's War

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Memories of younger days gone by

by gmractiondesk

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People in story: 
Marion Markey
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17 May 2005

I was about nineteen when the war began. We lived in Beech Hill Avenue in Wigan. I remember being in the local air raid shelter when a bomb went off and my mum jumped on me and my sister. It struck me later how much she must have loved us to want protect us like that.

I used to work in a munitions factory in Bradley. We worked on shifts — the night shift would start at around 10pm. We would take one of the buses which lined up. I remember one foggy winter we had to walk all the way back to Wigan because the buses didn’t turn up.

A group of us went to different factories to entertain — a couple of the lads used to sing and used to put on concerts. We had some fun. They were really happy days despite the war because we were always active. The shops didn't close and even the market was open late at night. One problem though was getting your hands on stockings — it was a real luxury at the time! Most winters we didn’t wear them and those older than me used to say how we’d feel it when we get old!

I remember walking home at night after a dance during the blackout but I felt safe. I think we had more freedom than what people have now.

I remember I stayed in a hostel which used to be the Royal Infirmary in Manchester and we met people from all over, but I remember that the white men wouldn’t associate with the black Americans who were there.

I got engaged to Fredrick Markey and we married after he returned from Burma. He was there for three years. He served as a grounds-man for the Royal Air Force. It was hard but we lived for the day. We were married for fifty-eight years. He never did speak much about his experiences.

Everyone was all for one and got on with things. I had a good time and would live that life again.

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