- Contributed by
- Romsey Community School, Hampshire
- People in story:
- Millie Harris
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 12 July 2004
We interviewed an 87 year old lady named Millie Harris. When war was declared she was 21,living in Edinborough in a small town called Dunfermline with her husband and two children, ages 1 and 2. During the war her husband was posted with the 8th army in Egypt, she also had two cousins one flying spitfires and the other flew Lancaster Bombers. Her parents were in Burma throughout the war and it was where her father was killed. Millie didn't work during the war but grew her own vegetables and looked after her children.
During the war Edinborough and the area around it suffered heavy bombing because of the docks, as destroyers and other ships came in for repair, and because of the railway links with the rest of Britain. Millie lived near the 4th road bridge in Edinborough this meant that they underwent heavy bombing because the bridge was important to get supplies from the docks to the rest of Scotland. Even though the bridge was repeatedly bombed it was luckily never hit.
Due to the large threat of bombing Millies husband built an Anderson shelter in their back garden. Millie always went to the shelter when there was an air raidas she had to look after her two children, even though it was cold and damp.She said that although the bombing was scary what scared her most was the shrapnel and machine guns. Millie had a terrifying experienca on the 4th bridge when she was shot at with a machine gun.Although Edinborough was heavily bombed there were no community shelters so everyone was expected to build their own.
Millie found that there were so many things she had to cope with during the war. Rationing was always hardwork and she never saw an egg throughout the war,as she lived in the city there were no hend so she had dried egg which as you can imagine tasted terriblr. There was also a huge shortage of flour, sugar, butter and meat. To make food go further she often mixed rice or breadcrumbs with meatsoit seemed like more than it was, margarine was also added to butter. Many recipes were also provided which showed better use of different foods. Cloth was also rationed and as at that time there were no pampers or huggies she struggled to find fabric to make nappies.
The Americans spent a lot of time in Edinborough and brought with them lovely foods that were counted as a real treat such as tinned fruit. This often attracted the British women to them. Americans also brough different types of music with them like jazz with sigers such as Vera Lynn. Millie recalled all the young people would dance as a way of keeping up moral however she was too busy with her children to spend time dancing.
In Edinborough there were many foreigners such as Americans and polish escapees and Norwewgian. Millie found that the polish were quite attractive and many British women ended up falling for them.
Communication during the war was hard so Millie relied on her wireless to know what was happening. She didn't know for a long time taht her father had died. Also in Edinborough it was important to keep quiet about war topics incase of spies.
Throughout all the hardship of the war the one thing that kept Millie going was the sound of Churchills voice on the wireless.
The war brought many people closer together people worked together and knew the fears everyone else had. "There was a lovely spirit of helping each other" Millie remembered.
At the end of the war there was a lot of singing and dancing everyone was so happy. Millie said how wonderful it was to see her husband again. Thought the main war had ended her husband was sent to Palastine to fight for a while after D-Day.
Although Millie suffered a lot she feels no hate towards the Nazis just sad because of what happened.
By Megan and Sarah.
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