- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Maureen, Eila, Audrey, Patrick and David Salisbury
- Location of story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 May 2005
When the war started I was 13 years old and when the Manchester Blitz came I was 14. The week before the Blitz, our family had moved house from Wythenshawe to Northenden. My father was in the Merchant Navy and was not at home when we moved, my mother was disorganised and there were quite a few things left in the house when we had moved. We could keep the key until Monday before we had to pay another week’s rent. On the blitz night I went with my mother to collect the things we had left. I seem to remember that there was some coal left and this was rationed so you didn’t leave coal. We took an old pram, which was normal transport when you collected coke, which was not rationed, from a collection point. We loaded the pram and set off for home. The blitz was now in full swing and bombs were dropping and guns were firing continually. We got part way and it got worse and we sheltered in a shop doorway with plate glass windows on three sides of us. We arrived home eventually and then we spent the night in the Anderson shelter with my older sister and two younger brothers.
On Monday morning someone had to take the keys back to the Town Hall and the job fell to me. I got a bus to Barlow Moor Road and should then have got a tram to take me into the centre of Manchester. There were no trams running because the trolley wires were all on the floor. Many people were walking and I joined the throng. It never occurred to me to go back home because as far as I was concerned I had to hand the keys into the housing department. I walked along many streets where the houses on both sides of the road had been bombed and were flattened. Many of the houses were burning and I remember walking down Cambridge Street in between two walls of fire. My whole memory is one of burning buildings.
I eventually arrive at Peter Square and on three sides it was just an inferno. All the buildings were gutted and fires raged. I am glad to say that the Town Hall was still standing and when I went inside I was able to leave the keys there. I then started the journey back, which was just as frightening as the one there. I don’t remember my mother asking why it had taken so long but I imagine I gave her a graphic description of the journey I had made.
Soon after we had moved house my Dad was due to come home and he didn’t know where we were living although he had the address. Since we weren’t sure of the date he was arriving When we thought he was coming home my Mother and another member of the family went to Stockport Station every evening so we could show my Dad the way home. I remember going on quite a few nights. He could have found his own way home in the daylight but the blackout was a different story.
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