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WW2 - People's War

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When the reality of war hit home

by culture_durham

Contributed by 
culture_durham
People in story: 
Bessie Gash
Location of story: 
Consett, County Durham
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4282328
Contributed on: 
27 June 2005

Bessie can remember the soldiers coming to Leadgate and billeted in Eden Miners’ store and the Co-op. Some soldiers came to her house for a bath and they always had very interesting stories to tell.

Bessie decorated her cardboard box containing her gas mask. She used crayons to make a design, but some people used to crochet decorations for their boxes. They often had half days off school and lots of air raid practices.

Mrs Gash worked for the Electricity Board and the siren used to go and she was told she had to ring the substation at Knitsley Lane to ask someone to come up so she wasn’t by herself. But understandably none of them would ever come!

People still had a good social life, she can remember going to the dances and her Father coming to pick her up. She went to the pictures on Wednesdays and Fridays.

They had blackout curtains on the windows, and ‘woe betide’ if any light showed — you would get told off by the ARP. Thankfully, the only air raid casualty around Consett was a cow.

Bessie can remember when the war finished going to the pictures to see films on Belsen and that’s when the true reality of war hit home!

Disclaimer: story submitted by Carole Nesbit at Consett Library on behalf of Bessie

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
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