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Childhood and School Memories

by Genevieve

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Jessie Agnes Franks (nee Newman)
Location of story: 
Liverpool and Merseyside
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 January 2006

I was eleven years old at the beginning of the war and I remember seeing barage balloons from my bed which was opposite the window and I remember about then we were told it was the damage the cables did to the aircraft rather than the actual barage balloons.

The first bomb that fell on Liverpool fell on the house of the headgirl of my school. It was the blast that killed her not any rubble from the bomb. The curate came to see if we were alright on that evening. He cycled almost three miles to get to us.

Another thing in the war, in our back garden my mother kept a goat which we had to take for walks along the grass verge for it to have enough to eat. She also kept chickens. I don't know who killed them or what we did with them. The goat every Saturday morning was allowed and went up to my brother's bedroom and what I remember about that particilar funny little incident every Saturday was the tap of the hooves on the linoleum as it went up through the hall and up the stairs. Why it was in the bedroom I don't know. Another thing I remember we had blackcurrents in the garden and we hated having to pick the blackcurrents therefore we were not interested in the blackcurrent jam either.

From school instead of going in the October half-term to collect potatoes, the potato harvest, from our school we had to go asparagus weeding. We went out to a place called Formby which is on the River Mersey estuary and was a very sandy place - the tide was receeding, so I gathered that asparagus liked sandy soil. We got six pence (6d) a row for that but I don't know what we had to pay in train fares.

Our school hall was bombed, it was also quite near the sea-front and one year, when I was about thirteen I think, we had chickenpox in the summer - June and we went down to church everyday to play tennis. It was the only church I knew that had a tennis court.

Later on when I was sixteen I was taking the school certificate and the shelter was in the school grounds. We lost our cricket pitch for that and the school sent a letter home "could the teacher decide whether it was necessary for us to go down at the first siren or wait until the imminent siren went before we went to the shelter". Well my father decided we were to go down, at least I was to go down immediately and I was the only girl in the class that had to leave her literature exam to go to the shelter.

There was, one evening during the war - during the bombing, my father had to walk from Liverpool (the docks at Liverpool), a sEven mile walk, to Crosby and through Bootle which was very badly damaged by bombing in the war. And the other thing I can remember off-hand on the sands, prior to the war, was we were often down playing and we were stopped from playing there because they built pill-boxes and that was the end of that. Nowadays there is a very interesting and good prominade all the way along that estuary from Liverpool all the way out to Hall Road, Formby and places like that.

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