- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Joan Eileen Aggett
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- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 November 2003
I was 2 1/2 years old when the war started. My very first memory was of sitting in my push-chair out-side the school gates, waiting for my cousin, who my mother was to walk home.The mothers all around me, were talking of something called "war", and their voices were very sombre. I was eating a banana, I didn't know then, but I wasn't to see or eat another banana, until I was eight years old.
My next memory is of being awakened in the middle of the night, and being taken into our Anderson shelter. There was the sound of throbbing engines overhead.The women were able to tell the difference between our bombers and the German planes, by the sound of those engines.Stoke-on-Trent had mines and steel mills, and a Rolls Royce factory, (where my young aunt worked, making parts for Spitfires), and so it was a target for the German bombers.
1940 - my mother and I were having tea at my grand-mother's, there were steps leading down from street level, to the path to her house. There were two men coming down those steps, b oth in fire-mans' uniforms, and one was guiding the other, because the second man had bandages over his eyes. The second man was my father. He had been manning a hose during a blitz on Liverpool, when a bomb had landed in the next street, and the blast had turned the hose back onto my father, and the water with terrific force had gone into his eyes. He used to say, after the war, that he held his fire-man's helmet in front of his face, and expected his eyes to drop into it. Fortunately, no such thing happened, and his eye-sight was saved.He was at many a bombing night in Liverpool, and was also in Coventry.
When I was 5 years old, I started to school, carrying a child's gas-mask on my shoulder.
1944, my mother and I had been to the shops, and a neighbour, standing at her front door, shouted across that the D-day landings had started, much hope that the war was at last coming to an end.
Early 1945, and much talk of peace. I remember asking my mother what "peace" was like, because I'd only known my country in war-time.
May 1945, a beautiful sunny day and we were sent home early from school, VEDay was declared the next day.
Some-time during the following summer months, I was given a banana, and I didn't know how to eat it - I thought one had to take out the little black bits running down the centre. It had been 6 years since I'd last seen one, and then I'd been little more than a baby.
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