- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Dolly Gwendolen Robinson, Mrs Partner (Evacuee from London)
- Location of story:
- Chaddesden, Derby
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 05 September 2005
This story was submitted by Alison Tebbutt, Derby CSV Action Desk, on behalf of Dolly Gwendolen Robinson. The author has given her permission and fully understands the site's terms and conditions
During the Second World War I was a Fire Watcher. When the sirens sounded, I and other females who lived in the street would come out with our tin hats, bucket and stirrup-pump. We called on our elderly neighbours making sure they were alright. We would make them a cup of tea or get them something to eat if they wanted us to. I would use the stirrup-pump to clean my outside windows when it wasn’t being used for fire watching.
I can remember there being barrels on the footpath down Nottingham Road and when it was a bright night these would be lit to make a smoke screen. At night I would walk to the bottom of Nottingham Road in Chaddesden with an elderly neighbour who wanted to get a pint of beer from a public house down there. We would walk through these smoke screens when they were lit.
During the war we had an evacuee stay from London. Her name was Mrs Partner and she was expecting a baby. We received seven shillings a week for her staying with us. She didn’t have much in the way of clothes and her shoes had a hole in them. In those days I used to have Co-op mutuality tickets, where I could have a certain amount of money in the way of tickets that could be spent at the Co-op. You paid so much back a week to the collector. I gave Mrs Partner a £1 ticket for her to buy some shoes. I thought no more about it but after she had a baby girl she sent me the £1 back and thanked us for all we did for her. Unfortunately we didn’t keep in touch.
Everyone helped each other in those days. I can remember my husband and neighbour helping each other to dig out each others air raid shelter. We didn’t like sleeping in it, as we could hear the beetles dropping from above us onto the paper lining the floor. In the end we used to sleep under the stairs on a mattress with our dog, Betty.
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