- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Audrey King
- Location of story:
- Wakefield, Yorkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People`s War site by Alan Magson, of Age Concern Bradford and District on behalf of Audrey King, and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site`s terms and conditions.
I was nine years of age when the Second World War started.
The seriousness of it first hit me when a customer of my dad’s came into the shop and asked dad if it would be alright if he gave me his box of artist paints and brushes, and continued to tell dad that he was a conscientious objector and had been told that he had to go to prison and stay for as long as the war lasted; he was a kind, gentle young man, quietly spoken, who never had a bad word to say about anyone. That was the very last time we saw — he died in prison.
I remember helping to dig a wide, deep trench in our garden, then we had to sink an Anderson shelter into to it and cover the top to disguise the fact it was there. Sometimes when the air raid sirens sounded we would run down the garden path and into the air raid shelter (it was very cold down there), other times mum would tell my brother and I to get under the table.
Things were quiet most of the time where we lived, but one night a bomb dropped into the back garden of a house across the road from us. The Anderson shelter caved in; fortunately the family were visiting some friends and had stayed late.
It was the following morning that they woke up to find a large crater in the back garden. It didn’t take long for the children living at that house to round up all their pals including my brother, myself and our cousins (who also lived not far away), to go and look at what had happened in their garden. We all looked at the massive crater in disbelief. Then started the dares ; who dare jump from one side to the other, then we were all jumping and slipping deep into the hole and scrambling out again. It seemed like fun.
A few days later the crater was cordoned off and all the people living in the vicinity were evacuated.
It had been discovered that a time bomb was ticking away deep down in the crater and it might explode at any time.
The Bomb Disposal Team were on their way to dig to find the bomb — then try and remove the timer from the unexploded bomb (what brave men they must have been)
While all this was happening, my mum, dad, brother and myself, my aunt and uncle and our two cousins went for safety to my dad’s shop. We stayed overnight and somehow dad managed to rig up a bed and we youngsters slept top-to-tail. We couldn’t get to school fast enough next day and tell our friends about our adventure.
The Bomb Disposal Team had been successful.
The four to five feet tall bomb was displayed for all to see in Wakefield’s Bullring.
It stayed there for many years.
I used to look at it as I passed by and think — what a lucky escape we’d all had!
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