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Coastal Forces

by cornwallcsv

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Peggy and Roy Crosley
Location of story: 
Sheffield and Lowestoft
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
23 October 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War website by Doreen Bennett on behalf of Peggy Crosley, the author and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

Coastal Forces

I was living in Sheffield at the beginning of WW2. A call went out to help fill sand bags to protect the Town Hall - my first memory of really hard work that just continued for the next six years. I taught in an infant and junior school that originally had no air raid shelter, so we had to teach small groups of children for 2 hours in private homes, then move on to the next group carrying all the books. There was a small coal allowance for these houses but the children rarely benefited from any warmth.

When eventually the school cellar was strengthened there was a very steep narrow stairway and to get 200 small children down the staircase meant that often the ‘all clear’ would sound as we got the last ones down into safety.
I had also volunteered as a firewoman and went straight to the Fire Station from school 5 nights a week, acting as a telephonist and general dogsbody until I went to the Fire Service College at Hove and became a Leading Firewoman.

My husband, Roy, served in Coastal Forces and was skipper of an MTB based in Lowestoft. He was wounded and in hospital for quite a long time. I was asked to go and look after him so that he could come out of hospital.

I was eventually released from teaching and went to Lowestoft where I joined the WVS working in the Comforts Office on the docks, providing woollies from bales of knitting that came in from all over the country, writing letters, mending uniforms, talking to and often comforting crew members of the boats and providing cups of tea. I am still in touch with many of the families and particularly the families of my husband’s crew.

We had two wonderful trips to Buckingham Palace when Roy received his 2 DSC’s and other crew members were honoured but the ‘buzz bombs’ meant we didn’t stay longer in London than necessary . The East Coast bombs were more familiar and we could cope with them.

VE Day found the boats in Southampton but we had a wonderful illegal bonfire of all the Mess black-out curtains and blinds and a great party on the Promenade.

By VJ Day my husband was in the Adriatic where he had gone to take over a mine-sweeper but he had only done two sweeps when his Class B release as a trained teacher came through, so he came home just in time for our first son to be born.

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