- Contributed by
- Stockport Libraries
- People in story:
- Stockport Libraries
- Location of story:
- Leek, Staffordshire
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 March 2004
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Elizabeth Perez of Stockport Libraries on behalf of a lady who wishes to remain anonymous and has been added to the site with her permission. She fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
"I was 7 years old when the war began. I lived in Leek, a small market town in North Staffordshire. On Friday September 1st, I was with my Mother in the Co-op buying black-out curtains. Suddenly the radio (which was playing music) broke in with an announcement that Hitler had invaded Poland. There was a stillness in the shop. Everyone knew that was "it". So for me, war began on Friday 1st not Sunday 3rd September.
Early in the war we had evacuees from Bradford, Manchester. We had two little girls Audrey aged 6 and Rosie (her cousin) aged 4. Audrey's mother and 2 year old brother lived with my Granny next door. They were poor, especially Rosie who was only wearing rags. Mum fitted them both out with my clothes I'd grown out of.
A family who lived with one of our neighbours was given boiled eggs and bread and butter for breakfast. They ate the whole lot, shells and all. They'd never seen eggs before. After about three weeks, they all went back to Manchester because they said we had no guns to protect them.
Later in the war Leek had an air-raid, by accident, planes were being chased and one unloaded its whole contents, 15 high explosives, none of which exploded, they called them time-bombs. There were many incendiaries. One dropped through a kitchen roof into a bowl of water where a woman was peeling potatoes. There was random fire damage all over the town, including our church where the organ was damaged. "Romany" of the BBC came and gave a talk to raise money, he brought Raq with him. I have his autograph in two of his books.
The only casualty in town was a man who was going upstairs to fetch his baby daughter down when the raid started. A bomb hit him in the back and cut him in half then buried itself in the cellar. This was the only death.
Towards the end of the war, we had evacuees from the Felixstowe and London, when the doodlebugs started. Some doodlebugs did reach us (not many), but I remember falling on my face in West Street when an engine just cut out."
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