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Christal's wartime childhood memories

by CSV Solent

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Solent
People in story: 
Christal McCARTNEY( nee ILTING)
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4505348
Contributed on: 
21 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by John on behalf of Christal McCartney and has been added to the site with her permission. Christal fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

Christal McCARTNEY( nee ILTING)
I was born in 1940 — so I do not have many memories of the horrors of war. As a young child everything seemed a big adventure — the sirens going off, going to the cellar, even sleeping quite a few nights for safety in the cellar. I also found great comfort by hiding under the kitchen table with my hands over my ears. My parents did not really talk to us about what might or might not be.
I remember the soldiers — English and German — marching through the streets of our town. I do not remember my father joining up but I do remember when we were moved from our home — the local greengrocer took us in his van to a nearby village for safety. My poor mother had her hands full. I was one of five children under the age of 10 — and none of us could understand why we were leaving our comfortable home to go and live in a grey garrison instead. It seemed half the town had moved there too! It al became very clear one evening when we watched a very red sky in the direction of our town and were told that it had been virtually destroyed in an air raid.
Once again we were moved — this time to a farm. All the local farmers had to take in families and house them as well as they could. For us it was a happy time as we adopted a completely different style of life — a farm is an ideal place for your children.
The day my father returned from the war — he never got further than Hamburg due to a hand injury — was a day full of mixed emotions for us all. My mother’s youngest sister had died in the morn in of that day but all I can remember is my father walking up the path in his uniform and carrying his kit bag. We all ran towards him and welcomed him home — it was just like a scene from the war movies!

I remember going back to my home town after the and just seeing streets and streets of rubble and the church in which I was christened also had not been spared. We regularly used to visit the ruins afterwards until the church was rebuilt.
My father never spoke about the war afterwards. He had to get a roof over his family’s heads and anyway most people were in the same situation and experiencing the same problems.

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