- Contributed by
- Wakefield Libraries & Information Services
- People in story:
- June Downing
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 January 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War Site by Bridie Wright of Wakefield Libraries and Information Services on behalf of June Downing and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
I was only six when the war started, but what I do remember is being very frightened of the search lights at night. I used to visit relations in Sheffield and I remember hearing the bombs dropping. I would probably have been around eleven. We went to town in the morning and all the shops we used to visit had been flattened.
I used to go to school with my gas mask and although I was scared I really had no concept of how serious the war was. Now I feel somewhat overwhelmed that I actually lived through the war years.
My father’s sister and brother lived in Jersey during the occupation and I can remember them coming back once Jersey had been liberated to stay with us. They came with only what they stood in. They lost their business and their beautiful house. They had a taxi business and the Germans took everything. Only recently have I realised how bad it must have been for them.
The smell of the gas mask takes me right back to school — we used to hate them!
The vegetable gardens were dug out at school and were made into a long shelter and we used to go down, thinking it was fun because we were out of lessons. But we were made to wear our gas masks!
I remember the ration books and that lots of food wasn’t available. Prunes and custard was a treat for Sunday tea. The only fruit I can remember having was apples and the pear I scrumped from a local orchard.
The Calder Inn at Horbury Junction was a billet for soldiers — my sister, who is 12 years older than me, seemed to be more interested in them than me.
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