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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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My First Memories

by cambsaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Mrs Pearl May Burdock nee Gilbert
Location of story: 
Ipswich Suffolk
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A8830154
Contributed on: 
25 January 2006

The war ended when i was five. My father was in the Home guard. He did night watch duties in addition to his regular day job. This was serving as a mechanic in Crawley's Gararge in Ipswich. My mother used our spare bedroom to give two young nurses a place to sleep when they were not on duty.
Our home was a small, three bed-roomed, end of terrace house in Brittia Road, Ipswich. I did have a little bedroom of my own yet seldom actually slept in it. Mum and dad had a large bedroom. There were two large cots in addition to the wardrobe and dressing table. One was for my younger brother Paul, the other one for me. When the siren went off mum had to be very quick in waking us up. We had warm siren suits (these were government issue). These resembled moderm day cat suits, they were hung at the corner of our cots along with a gasmask. The Anderson Shelter was at the end of the garden. It was used by about 12 to 20 of us and our neighbours. We used to get woken from our cots during the night, slipped into our siren suits and gas masks popped over our heads. If dad was on his night watch and both our nurses were on duty, mum used to leave me under the livingroom table while she took my younger brother to safety first. She would then return for me.
Although dad worked in a garage we did not have a car. My parents used bicycles. There was a childs seat for me on my fathers crossbar, there was a rear seat for my brother on my mums cycle. Sometimes we used the trams when dad was at work.
We did have a holiday of one week each year. This was in a large house somewhere in East Anglia. It was also a working holiday for my parents. Mum used to help in the large kitchen. Dad did general and handyman work around the house and grounds. My brother and i were able to breathe in the lovely clean air as we played in the large grounds.
Dad used to raise two cockerels each year. One was for our Christmas dinner the other was for our Easter feast. This continued long after the war ended. He also made many our of toys. This enabled us to enjoy christmas and our birthday celebrations despite the shortage of money. Such was the love that united families with each other and bonded families in christianity. We have very little of anything. Yet in spite of all the problems, their was friendship and values second to none in the world we live in today.

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