- Contributed by
- Stockport Libraries
- Location of story:
- Norton Street, Old Trafford, Manchester
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 28 June 2004
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Elizabeth Perez of Stockport Libraries on behalf of "David". It has been added to the site with their permission and they fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
I was six when the war started. When I was seven, my Mother, my brother and I were in the house. We were ready to go bed because the sirens had gone, and my brother and I were put into the bed that had been made underneath the stairs. My mother was tidying in the kitchen, and I can remember being very agitated because she didn't seem to hurry, and we could hear the bangs happening, and they seemed to come nearer and then they would go further away. I kept saying "Mummy, please, please." Eventually she did come in, and we settled down and the door was not shut properly, but it was pulled to. This was under the stairs, my brother was furthest back, my Mother and I next to each other. We had torches. Then we just listened, went to sleep, wakened up, went to sleep, wakened up.
Then you could feel the earth shaking with the bombs and the whistles, and then there was the most horrendous crash where the house shook and then this awful clatter. We didn't quite know, or I didn't know what it was, but it also came outside the door and we couldn't open the door.
Mother tried to explain to us that it was alright and I said "It is alright, Mother they will come and find us." Of course they did. Eventually there were shouts of people, it was men with the air raid wardens who would be saying "Is there anybody alive here?" I don't know how long we had to wait, it seemed a long time. We shouted, my Mother and I shouted, because my brother never spoke from that night for another year. He would be two - shock obviously. Eventually they got into us, and of course we realised what had happened, when they got us out. The whole front had fallen. There were two houses, our house and the house next door, and the landmine had landed in the road outside and the incendiary bombs had gone off, we were just unfortunate, the rest of the road was fine, but many people had it happen because the Docks and Trafford Park were very important. Norton Street ran parellel with Ayres Road quite close to the Docks. But how much worse was it in London, Coventry and Southampton.
They did manage to extricate my brother's big coach pram and they put my brother and me into it, my Mother was in her dressing gown. We were taken to St. John's Church into the cellars there with other people who had gone through similar experiences. It turned out it had been a landmine and there had been incendiaries, and interestingly one had come down the chimney and marked a carpet with the sign of the cross in exactly the right places.
Eventually my Grandmother and my Grandfather, he was in the Merchant Navy and was home on leave, were looking for my mother and my brother and me, because my father was working in a reserved occupation at that time in Trafford Park and of course the Germans were trying to get Trafford Park or the Docks or both, and my aunt, who also lived in Old Trafford further away. They were looking for them, they had actually found them and said to them "Stay here whilst we find Madge and the children are alright." That in fact is what happened. They found us, I can't remember how we got to their house, I really cannot remember, but I can remember being bathed and tucked up in bed with my cousins. And that was it.
From then on, we went to Prestbury with my Mother, we lived there for four years. After that we had an idyllic time,I think there was only ever one bomb dropped in or around Prestbury.
So that's really the story of the Blitz as far as I was concerned. Yes it was frightening, but it was also exciting. From my experience you're immortal and you know you've got your mother and she will save you no matter what happens. So you really do feel you're immortal. Yes you tighten up with the shock of the bricks and the house falling in. Nobody likes the earth to shake and the bombs, and a sort of tightening of yourself when the air raid sirens sounded. My mother was incredibly good, because I think about how she coped, but it taught us all a lesson, you keep a stiff upper lip, you have to, it's very English isn't it?
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.