- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Margaret McGomery
- Location of story:
- Clyde estaury
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 February 2004
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries on behalf of Margaret McGomery and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
My maternal grandfather was working at Wooich arsenal at the beginning of the First world war. He was transferred to th torpedo factory at Battery park between Gourock and Greenock. I was born in sept 1931 in Greenock and my parents moved to Bridge of Weir between Galsgow and Greenock. being young when the war broke out my brothers and I didn't really realise what was happening. But as time went on and bombs started falling in our area we became aware that something bad was happening. We lived in a downstairs flat and my father's aunt Elsie and Uncle Jimmy lived above.When the bombs started falling my aunt would come down and we would go into the cellar under the stairs which my father had whitewashed and fitted out with trestles at the back for my four brothers to lie down on and chairs for my mother,my aunt and myself. It was lit by candles and we had a jar of boiled sweetsready in case needed. One night my father came rushing in saying " take to the hillsthey are dropping incendiary bombs ".We all came out of the house,my mother was pushing my youngest brother peter in his pram,wne an air riad warden came and ushered us back into the house telling us it was safer indoors. Sometimes you would listen to the drone of the planes and you would recognise the difference between ours and the Germans. being so near to the Clyde we could hear all the bombs and the AKAK guns at the ship building ports . my grandfather's house in greenock was bombed and they rented a house in Dunoon for atime. I remember my grandfather's brother Will came up from London for a time,I don't know if they had been bombed out,but I wonder know how they all manged to live together in a two bedroomed house.
I was in a tap dancing troupe and we used to go around various places giving concerts .I went for an audition to greenock Empire,I think it was concert for the troops and I can always remember one of the artists was a tall redheaded sailor who sang "TREES"(I think that I shall never see).I don't know why it sticks in my mind and I sang and danced to "The dark town Strutters Ball"
Some times after the war we had a displaced persons camp built in our village abd we had all different nationalities. My father befriended two French men and usde to bring them home for a cup of tea.In later years my mother went to France ans visited one of them several times.
I met a boy from Czechoslovakia,his name was igor Tomes,we wrote to each other for a couple of years and I often wonder what happened to him
I still have his address and i am often tempted to write and see if he is still there.
While at school during the war ,some of the older pupils would go on certain days and help the local farmer to lift his potatoes. After the farmer would come round with a big tea urn and slices of thick Scots bread and jam.We received a scroll from King George VI thanking us for helping the war effort. I've still got mine. Food was scarce and very basic.I can only remember corned beef,dried eggs and suasages and the only vegetable was turnips.Sometimes walking home from schoolwe would go into the frmers field and pinch a turnip(tumshie).There was a large rhubard farm near to our school and our headmistress would often send us to but some for the canteen. Once w had a rare treat,we had an Italian family at the school(their father was interned during the war)they must have given the school boxes of dry ice cream cones and the dinner lady made some kind of custard to put in them and they were distributed to the whole school. it was like manna from heaven. I don't remember seeing any fruit, and sweets were scarce,practically non existent.Once in a while the local chip shop(Jeanie Reid's) would receive a consignment of sweeys and I can remember waiting in a huge queue,everyone dancing with excitement,but we were only allowed two items,maybe a Mars bar and some other chocolate heaven.
All the railings and metal gates were taken down to be melted for the war effort.
Margaret McGomery,now of Stoke-on-Trent
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