- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mrs Sylvia Fogg
- Location of story:
- Ashbourne, Derbyshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 February 2005
1st Child On Mum, I’m so afraid
2ns Child What is going to happen? Will there be some bombs, what shall we do, where shall we go?
1st Child Will it be the end of the world?
Mother Now, now, calm yourselves children, I don’t think anything is going to happen here and now, after all we are right in the middle of the country in Derbyshire and this is the first day of the war.
1st Child What is a war, Mum?
Mother Well dear, that will take rather a lot of explaining, but briefly, we in Great Britain are going to join and help the other European nations who are being oppressed by the Nazi regime in Germany.
2nd Child What does that mean?
Mother You heard on the wireless that the German Army, under the leadership of Hitler, marched into Poland on September 1st and because Britain and France are pledged to defend Poland, yesterday, just two days later, was has been declared on Germany. All the able men of the country will have to join the Army and go and fight for freedom. As to what will happen, only time will tell, but we hope that right will suffice.
The All Clear sounds
Mother There you are, don’t worry any more, nothing is going to happen today.
Lights down — voice off with the 6.00pm News Bulletin saying that it is 14th November, 1940. Mother sits knitting, children playing a game on the table.
There is a loud knocking at the door
ARW Mrs Brown… Mrs Brown….
Mother Yes, Yes what is all the knocking about?
ARW Don’t you know there is a war on? I will have you know that there is a full half inch of light showing at the bottom of your window, are you inviting the enemy to drop their bombs on us?
Mother Of dear! That must be our Pearls fault. She did black out tonight, I suppose if I want a job done properly I must do it myself (she goes and adjusts the blind) there will that do now?
ARW I’ll go and have a look ( he goes outside to look) yes, that’s fine.
Mother (Going to the kettle on the hob) I don’t suppose you have time for a cup of tea?
ARW Well, just a quick one, I have the rest of the road to do yet and I don’t suppose you will be the only offender.
Mother And I don’t suppose you would say no to a drop of this in it as well, (she picks up a bottle of whiskey and puts a drop in) goodness knows when we will ever get any more, there’s not much left in this bottle.
ARW My word, that was welcome, warmed the cockles of my heart, I’ll say goodnight to you now…and watch the blackout in future!
Mother (When he has gone) We will sure do that or he will be in again for a tipple every night till the bottle is empty!
(Lights dim…time passes…air raid siren is heard, then the noises of aeroplanes in the distance)
Mother Oh dear, it sounds as if it is going to be one of those nights, quickly children, get under the table and make yourselves comfortable.
1st Child It is cold under there, can I have a cushion?
(There is a general scramble for cushions and blankets)
Mother Now children, keep well under, you never know, we may not be a prime target but often the Jerries drop a few bombs on their way home. I will go into the broom cupboard, under the stairs. (Goes and settles herself) I do hope your father is alright, it is his night for firewatch on the church roof for the Home Guard.
(Loud thuds are heard, then one very loud one)
Children Mum, of Mum, what was that? (very frightened)
Mother Holy Moses, that sounded too close for my liking. I wonder where that landed? Keep quiet and listen. (After a little while) I think the plane has gone now. I shouldn’t think it will return. Ah, there goes the ‘All Clear’ now you can both go upstairs to bed, you must be tired as it is nearly morning.
President steps in front of the curtain and says. ‘Perhaps you will be interested to know that on that night a bomb fell directly on a farmer’s milk shed in the village of Kniveton, fortunately no one was hurt. Suffice to say, the farmer was very annoyed that he had lost all his milk!
On the same night 400 bombs were dropped on Coventry, 1500 people died, and thousands were made homeless. The reflections of the burning fires could be seen clearly form the Ashbourne district.
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