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WW2 - People's War

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by EllenPim

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People in story: 
Ellen Pimblott
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18 November 2003

I was 19 when WWII broke out, living in a small village called Davenham in the middle of Cheshire. One night the following occurred:

Looking through the lounge window, my father drew back the black-out curtains and we saw a bright red glow in the sky in the direction of Liverpool. There were terrific bangs and great flashes of light. I thought, “Another night for us under the stairs!” (Sometimes a stray bomb meant for Liverpool or Manchester would fall upon Cheshire and often dropped near our homes.). But this night was worse and more frightening than usual.

Suddenly we heard the growing loud squeal of a bomb which had to be close. The subsequent bang was tremendous and the house shook. It was so close but luckily in our road, only window panes crashed out onto the paths. And so it went on all night. I felt really tired the next morning, but we all had to get up and go to work.

Whilst waiting for the bus to take me to work at ICI, three different buses came from the opposite direction — the direction of Liverpool. That’s when we saw that other people had had a much more horrific night than us.

Out of the buses came three policemen and three ladies holding sheets of paper. On the buses were tired scared injured children. They were evacuees from Liverpool. Apparently during the previous night’s raid and whilst the bombs were actually dropping, they had rushed for shelter with their families into the Mersey Tunnel. Suddenly there had been an almighty flash and all the lights in the tunnel had gone out. Then water had begun to swirl around their feet and pandemonium had broken out. The families thought the tunnel had split open and they were all going to drown. In their panic, they all rushed to the entrance. Outside the raid was still going on and many were scorched by red hot showers of burning timber from the buildings on fire. The adults and children received bad burns on their bodies, particularly on their hands and faces.

Each house on our road (Jack Lane) took a child and it was the first time I had heard the word “evacuees”. Some of the children stayed for months (years) and others went home soon after.

We did hear afterwards that the water rushing around their feet in the tunnel in fact was from the sprinklers above their heads, not the river Mersey. Thank God.

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