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Mary Wickham's Story

by Lancshomeguard

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Lancshomeguard
People in story: 
Mary Wickham (nee Heckford) and Family
Location of story: 
Wolverhampton
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4536326
Contributed on: 
24 July 2005

This story has been submitted to the People’s War website by Anne Wareing of the Lancashire Home guard on behalf of Mary Wickham and has been added to the site with her permission…..

I was born in 1917 so I was twenty-two when the war started.

I had a brother who flew as an observer in the RAF, he trained in S. Africa. Conditions going out were so appaling, he determined to come back an officer. My sister later became a WREN.

My father worked at Meadows Engineering, working seven days a week, only occasionally getting a weekend off. Then mother would arrange for us all to stay the weekend at a farm where we would be given good food. She also visited the nearby hospital, and would offer a bed to the visiting families of wounded men. She visited wounded men herself and often invited them home to play bridge and saving the week’s meat ration she would make all the visitors a Sunday lunch.

At twenty-four I married, the day before clothes rationing began, I remember my friends being very pleased about the fact that they had got their new outfits just in time.

I worked in Barclays Bank, Snowhill Wolverhampton at this time and did voluntary work for Toc H at Talbot House. We entertained service men and I recall some airmen coming in and enjoying a meal with us, then asking for more before going back to their base at Bridgenorth.

The bank manger had no sympathy with me whatsoever for doing voluntary work at night, he did nothing, so I very pleased, when eventually he had to go and do a lot of fire watching, it served him right.

My husband was later called into the DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship) and when he came into port I would go and stay with him when I could. I had a child by this time and once when I was on my way to see him, a porter very kindly put the pram on the train for me, which was too full for me to get on and left before I could get on it, leaving me holding the baby, so to speak.

Two other things I remember, when my husband was on leave I would walk the two or three miles home in pitch dark in the blackout; you wouldn’t want to do that today, and the other thing was not having to queue at the butchers when I was expecting the children.

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