- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Bill Bennett
- Location of story:
- Longstone, Derbyshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 03 November 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Louise Treloar of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team from Mrs Hilary Clarke on behalf of the Longstone Local History Group, and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
The memories are taken from a special edition of a newsletter kindly submitted by Longstone Local History Group. It was edited by Liz Greenfield and published in Autumn 2002. Longstone was a village which sheltered evacuees and was comparatively unaffected by air attack, although the night sky was often lit by the fires of the Sheffield Blitz.
I was at Longstone School when war broke out. Mr Buggins was the headmaster, assisted by Miss Lomas in the juniors and Miss Robinson in the infants. My earliest memory is of all the evacuees arriving in our village institute and being given families. We had part-time teaching whilst they were here, sharing the school time with them.
They brought with them a teacher called Miss Urtika. She had a swastika round her neck and was very strict. We didn’t like her. She lodged with Mrs Doddemeade up Longreave Lane and when she was on her way home, I used to hide behind the wall and shout “Ma Urtika!” and then duck back again.
We learnt to knit at school and made khaki balaclavas and scarves for the soldiers.
Soon most of the evacuees returned home but one of them who stayed was Stan Laverty. He was very good on the mouth organ and my brother and I went carol singing with him. When we got to the Hursts’ at the bottom of the village someone threw a bucket of water on us out of the bedroom window. We were soaked. Then someone came to the door when they realised how wet we were and felt sorry for us. They invited us in to dry off and we ended up staying and singing Roll out the Barrel.
When I was 11 I went to the boys’ school down Bath Street, Bakewell, or Bath Street Academy, as we called it. We took sandwiches every day for lunch with some cocoa, which they made up for us. On Fridays, as a treat, we had three-penn’orth of chips from the chip shop on Buxton Road.
The Rifle Brigade from Bakewell used to come up on Longstone Moor and do manoeuvres. After they’d gone, we lads would go up and see what we could find, empty shell cases or smoke bombs. Once we brought a smoke bomb down to the pavilion on the rec and ignited it by jamming three lit matches into the contents. Once it got hold the smoke puthered out and enveloped the whole village. As you can imagine, we got a good telling-off.
On one occasion the Rifle Brigade were going down Beggarway Lane when the lorry overturned in the dip, killing two of the soldiers. As we were living at the Croft Lodge my mother took the soldiers in and made them tea. Another day a man in a long coat and a trilby hat, carrying a small attaché case, knocked at the front door and asked for a glass of water, which I gave him. I didn’t tell my mum and dad as I thought he was a spy or someone on the run.
I left school at the end of the war and became an apprentice painter and decorator with Mr Hodgkinson.
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