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WW2 - People's War

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My Stories of the 2nd World War

by goosey27

Contributed by 
goosey27
People in story: 
Gladys Ruby Eyre
Location of story: 
Shirecliffe, Sheffield
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2877636
Contributed on: 
29 July 2004

I was born in 1924, and my name was Gladys Bramhall. My parents had 7 children, 5 boys, and 2 girls, of which I was the oldest. I was 15 years old when the war broke out and I had just started working in a meat and vegetable market in Sheffield. Whilst I was there I watched people paint the roof window black, so the light wouldn’t attract enemy planes, as Sheffield had lots of factories making munitions. I later worked in one of these factories, which was called “Brown Bayleys”, when I was 18 years old.

I lived in a place called Shirecliffe, which was right out in the country. If we didn’t have to go into town to work, we wouldn’t have known there was a war on. But one night when the sirens sounded, my dad (who was an air raid warden) ushered us all into our Air Raid Shelter in the garden. He would normally have gone round the streets ushering people into their shelters, but this night a German aeroplane unloaded two-barrel type bombs on our street accidentally and this blew my dad into the shelter with us. If he had been on the street he would have been killed with lots of others. Not only had people been killed, but also our houses were blown apart, so thousands of people, including me and my family, had to be housed in places like churches.

My mother had just took a lovely meat and potato pie made in a big dish out of the oven, and put it on the table. When the “all clear” went we went into our house, and there was the pie covered in soot, glass ceiling parts etc. This happened about 9 p.m., I think, and we didn’t get anything to eat or drink until next morning as we queued to be allotted a place to go. We were in this church for a few weeks until the houses were fixed up again. Ours didn’t take to long because only the ceiling and windows were blown out.

Another night my 5 year old brother, who had Polio and wore a steel calliper, and I went to the forum, a local cinema. We came out of the cinema to walk home, which was about 2 miles, and as we were walking, the sirens went so we dashed for the nearest shelter in some bodies garden and jumped in. There was nobody else there, and we found out why when we found ourselves neck high in water. We had to walk the rest of the way home wet through! I remember going to work the next morning and I had to take two trams. The first took me into town. It was terrible. Trams crushes, shops, and buildings down. One of the buildings was a high use pub called “Marples”. They couldn’t get all the bodies’ out, so afterwards a new pub was built over them.
I worked on an overhead crane, which was still all right so I stayed and finished my shift. I remember one of the girls was always leaving her crane to go to the toilet, so the men rigged an imaginary partition out of corrugated iron and wrote “Toilet” on it for her, not to use, just for fun. But when she left the firm they painted the “I” out which left “TO LET”. We had lots of fun like that. My mother and many other women her age worked on these cranes which were dangerous, as you had to go up high ladders near vats of melting steel.

When the war finished we all walked home from work as there was no transport, but we didn’t care. I walked from Attercliffe to Southey Hill where I lived on Dryden Road, which must have been 14 miles or so. It was a wonderful day.

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Working Through War Category
Sheffield and South Yorkshire Category
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