- Contributed by
- Leicestershire Library Services - Birstall library
- People in story:
- Neil Coleman
- Location of story:
- Belgrave, Leicester
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 January 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Neil Coleman. He fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
We were Church of England, my cousin Geoffrey and me, and were members of the choir at St Michael’s and All Angels, on Melton Road on that piece of land that lay between Moira Street and Cannon Street just North of the Melton turn in Belgrave, Leicester. We lived in a large house in a terrace directly opposite a church. We were both pupils at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic school on Harrison Road, Geoff being nine and I was eight which meant that we were in different years. The school was connected with the Church of Our Lady at the Harrison Road end of Moira Street. And in 1940 at Halloween we went to the party given in the hall attached to the church. Run by the teachers and parents there was apple-bobbing, lucky dips in bran-barrels, toffee apples, ginger-snaps, and all sorts of games and fun. My mother went with us and there was an enormous Moon on what was a clear night. Walking back along Moira Street, mother said she thought the Moon was what she thought was called a “Hunter’s Moon”.
That night was October 31st 1940. Five days later we had Guy Fawkes’ Night — with a difference! We held it around the kitchen table — an INDOOR BONFIRE NIGHT but with no bonfire, indoor fireworks only. They came in a small box and were all made of lightweight papers that floated up to the ceiling, by which time the burning had ceased and some were lit on a plate and formed themselves into burning, wriggling snake like shapes — what fun it was……! -fourteen day later on the nineteenth of November the siren sounded and we were all down in the cellar wrapped in eiderdowns listening to the unsynchronised drone of the twin-engined German bombers and the ‘crump’ of exploding bombs coming even nearer. Dad counted nine crumps and told us not the worry — they’d soon go away — we went to the front door and stood on the steps looking down the Melton Road towards Coventry and saw the orange glow of the fires burning there — it must have been around midnight, and as we all went inside Dad said how glad he was he hadn’t distempered the kitchen ceiling, because t would have been a waste of time if we’d had a direct hit, and to Mum her said that the Moon she’s talked about wasn’t a Hunter’s Moon, it must have been a Bomber’s Moon.
Geoff’s Dad, who worked for the Leicester City Council went by lorry to Coventry daily for many weeks to help clear the bomb damage — he couldn’t bring himself to say anything about it, except it was heart-breaking and he worked twelve or fifteen hours at a stretch and came back red-eyed and filthy and then drew a bath, taking care not to use more than five inches of water, in line with Government war-time regulations.
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