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Teenage Memories of Hanover

by Lawrence Weston Library

Contributed by 
Lawrence Weston Library
People in story: 
Ulla Denton
Location of story: 
Hanover
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3822743
Contributed on: 
23 March 2005

I was thirteen when war started, I was living in Hanover.

I remember ration books. At the beginning of the war food was not too bad to get, but by the end rations were very short. I used to like stewed apple with sugar.

My father was a teacher who gave private lessons for food. We were evacuated in spring 1944 to a small village north of Hanover. This happened because my father supervised 3 schools in 3 villages.

I also taught Maths and German in exchange for food. I attended technical college, going by train each day.

I remember an attack by British planes. Whilst the train was crossing the river the plane engine was imobilised, and the train was attacked by machine guns.Once the planes were gone I walked home to the village where we lived.

Once arriving back at the farm I found 25 craters dotted around the farm. One daughter of the farmer was killed straight away, the other daughter died later. The son lost an arm and a foot. Three horses also died.

Back in Hanover I left school in the summer 1943. It was law for all school leavers to work on a farm, or with a family for six months. I worked on a farm which burned down. The farm was destroyed and only cows and horses were saved with the courageous help of a farm worker.

People were very selfish during the war, we were always glad when another place was bombed, this gave us a rest.

Huge air raid shelters were built above the ground. Men were not allowed into the shelters until all the women and children were safe. Men waited outside to find out if there was space for them.

I took my small brother and sister aged 3 and 5 into the shelter. My mother would not leave my father, so they stayed outside. I never knew if I would see them again, although they were always admitted, but, I never knew this at the time.

My father was an air raid warden. He had to report on certain evenings to a certain place, he wasn't allowed to leave. I was left at home with my brother and sister.

My mother had gone to visit my grandmother. I promised my father I would go with my siblings to an air raid shelter. I woke up with my father shaking me, I had slept through a raid. The roof was gone on the house.
I remember the anti air craft guns shooting at a British plane. I could see one chap in the search lights, descending with his parachute. I can remember feeling really sorry for him because he was so vulnerable, but they didn't shoot at him.

My thoughts were with my two cousins in America, both were of serviceable age. One served in Paris, the other in the Phillipines.
I was at college and going to be a teacher, but there was no college for a year. After the war ended my father worked in a school with 7 teachers and 1500 children.

I needed a ration book, you could get one if you were working. I worked on a farm where we lived, getting up at 5am, leaving the fields at 7 or 8 at night.This was hard with little food. I wore shoes made from an old shopping bag of Mums' and a bicycle tyre of Dads.

Canadian troops came and took over the farm building. We had to leave the farm for them to use. I applied for a job there because I got breakfast, lunch and dinner. I worked as a waitress. They were a wonderful lot of people to work for, very, very good.

When they left I needed another job before going back to college. I applied for a job at an ex german ammunition depot, which was taken over by the British. I was offered a job as a telephonist, but I declined and took a job as a waitress because I got more food. I worked in the sergeants mess,I stayed in the mess until I was asked to do bar duty at night, which i refused.

500 German civilians worked on ammunition duty, where I got my next job. I worked as a clertk and interpreter until I married a British soldier.
The college I attended never re-opened, so I had to apply for re-entry into a college in Hanover.

We had no where to live as our house had gone, so we had the houses of both sets of grandparents. A friend offered me accommodation in their house. I slept on a sofa in the kitchen. By the time my college application was approved half the college year was over, so I could not go back.

I moved to England on 13/12/1947.We lived with my parents-in-law for 7 years. They were the most wonderful parents-in-law you could wish to meet.

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