- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Dorothy Hordell
- Location of story:
- Birches Head, Stoke-on-Trent
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 30 June 2004
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries on behalf of Dorothy Hordell and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
I remember the first time I heard the sirens. I thought the world had come to an end. They were terrifying. I remember once when my son was in a pushchair we were going up Turner Street when the sirens went. I turned round and went home.
I used to sit and watch the German planes go over. They were after the aluminium works down Birches Head Lane and the steelworks at Etruria. They used to follow the canal that low you could see the markings on them. They came over one night and dropped a basket of incendiary bombs on Birches Head Lane. It seemed the world was on fire and everybody was running for cover. I can't remember the fire brigade coming out. Our planes chased off the Germans. One German plane dropped one bomb that went through an air raid shelter up Campbell Terrace in Birches Head. nobody was killed. They had a lucky escape they did.
My mother lived in Pretoria Road at the back of the park. There was a tunnel from the old PMT station in Clough Street through to Etruria Road. It was used as a shelter by the people round there. I remember once the R101 airship had landed on top of this tunnel that from a distance looked like a hill. Thousands turned out to see it. People used to get all their bedding and spend the night in there.
I remember one day there was a terrific bang. We hadn't heard anything like it. We heard it over in Birches Head. It was a landmine that fell in Chesterton. Another time the children's playground at the top of Moston Street was hit. Another time my baby's cot shook across the bedroom floor after a bomb dropped. It was too late to go to the shelter once the bombs had dropped!
I use to work three shifts at Dunlops in Etruria on the canalside. We used to do all the tyres for the army, stripping off the old tread ready for the new. This was called poker-stripping. I worked there through the war. My husband was injured in the army. He was near Tate & Lyle the sugar firm in Newcastle, on anti-aircraft guns. He injured his back fallling after the shock of a bomb dropping.
My mother was a Land Army girl but I can't remember where she was based, somewhere Newcastle or Loggerheads way
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