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May Bullock's War

by Lancshomeguard

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Archive List > Family Life

Contributed by 
Lancshomeguard
People in story: 
May Bullock nee Atkinson
Location of story: 
Nelson,Lancashire and Malta
Article ID: 
A4140442
Contributed on: 
01 June 2005

This story has been submitted to The People's War website by Liz Andrew of the Lancshomeguard on behalf of May Bullock and added to the site with her permission.

I was nineteen when the War started and I lived in Nelson. I was a weaver at James Nelson's. It was a Reserved occupation and I remained a weaver throughout the war. We made silks and satins. Nothing much happened in Nelson. I remember hearing a noise when I was lying in bed one night and somebody diving under the bed. It was my sister in law. "Aren't you getting under the bed," she asked, and I replied "Am I heckerslike! I'm staying right here."

The War made us grow up fast. My brother Edwin joined the Infantry and was sent straight to Singapore. He sent me a letter from there and talked about the beautiful doe eyed Singapore women. I still treasure it. He was married just before he left and had just a week's honeymoon. After the Fall of Singapore he was taken prisoner by the Japanese. He sent a card home with only five sentences on it. We could not write to him. The Japanese selected the fittest prisoners and shipped them off to Tokyo. Edwin was one of them. He was on board ship when the Americans bombed it and he was killed.

It was a bad time. Edwin was my mother's baby. She was heartbroken. She used to be a really good singer but she never sang again after that. A lady who lived across the road went to a spiritualist and was told that Edwin had been killed instantly by a beam that fell on his head. My mother believed it but my father never did. Even now, when I go to the seaside, I look at the water and think "Edwin, you're somewhere out there.".....There shouldn't be any wars.

My fiancee was posted to Malta. We were engaged but he wouldn't get married. He said it wasn't fair to me. He operated the Anti Aircraft guns. He said the dogs knew the planes were coming before the humans. They would run to the Ack Ack base and start barking. He told me they once brought down a German plane and the pilot was killed. The local kids began kicking his head around like a football. He said the Maltese were starving and the girls would have slept with you for a bar of chocolate. It's a horrible thing, War.

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