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The Hat

by ateamwar

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Archive List > The Blitz

Contributed by 
ateamwar
People in story: 
Muriel Watson nee Pritchard.
Location of story: 
Norris Green, Merseyside
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5735027
Contributed on: 
14 September 2005

In 1939/40 I was 8 years old and living in Aconbury Close, Norris Green. I remember how frightened I was when an incendiary bomb came through Mrs. Foulds (our neighbours) roof especially as her house was attached to ours.
Luckily for her she was in our air raid shelter with us when we heard the almighty bang, my dad pulled aside the blackout curtain covering the door “it’s an incendiary bomb” he said as we all looked in horror at the flames through Mrs. Foulds roof, as he scrambled out she took off her best hat with the feather at the back and she plonks it on his head “to protect you from the shrapnel” she says.
The bomb had fallen on to her bed, several more neighbours had joined dad to try to put the flames out, it was dark so they had trouble finding buckets and bowls to put the flames out and one man was running backwards and forwards with cups of water from the bathroom. What a wet mess the bed was in.
When the fire was out the men decided to throw the bed out through the bedroom window, after an abortive attempt to get it down the stairs. There was feathers everywhere inside and out, some sticking to the trees it looked like a snow storm.

After dad had left the shelter, mum kept the candles going lighting one from the other and we all just sat staring at the blackout curtain covering the entrance, so when dads head suddenly appeared we all jumped out of our skins as he’d just put his head in so as not to show any light outside. His face was jet black even his nostrils, his eyes were like a pandas and Mrs. Foulds hat was still on his head, back to front, the huge pink feathers stuck to it. We all just stared at him- and no one laughed — at least not then.

I am 74 now and mum is 95, we both laugh as we remember dad that night and how we had never let him live it down.

‘This story was submitted to the People’s War site by BBC Radio Merseyside’s People’s War team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.’

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