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WW2 - People's War

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Two Children

by cornwallcsv

Contributed by 
cornwallcsv
People in story: 
Margaret Susan Fitton (Peggy)
Location of story: 
Lancashire
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4178658
Contributed on: 
11 June 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War website by Sue Sutton on behalf of Enid Steele, the author and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

Gas masks were the most terrifying thing I remember about the war. I was 7 my sister Peggy 5, with Mum we went up a slope into this thing like a furniture van to have our gas mask's fitted and gas tested. I am still not able to watch frogmen or under water scenes with goggles to this day, it still scares me.

When I asked Peggy what she remembered she said. We cycled to junior school, Peggy, and Ann next door had tricycles I had a bike we had to go over the brook at the bottom of the garden on a three plank bridge, school a mile further, I was in charge and got fed up of waiting for them and got to school. The siren sounded Ann suggested they got down by a wall but Peggy said we are nearly at school so they carried on although they were near a shelter. Low over the roof tops came this little German plane they could see the pilot and the black cross. The ack-ack guns were booming. By the time they got to school the all clear had sounded and the teacher was very cross that they hadn't used the shelter, but they were only 7 years old.

Dad would give lifts to US service men going to their base at Kirkham near Blackpool and come home with a bar of chocolate for us to share.

Blackberry picking was very important, we went out with a 2lb jam jar with string tied round the top some of the fruit was made into jam with sugar the Mum had saved from our rations. Apples were very carefully cut down each join.Nettles picked young, wearing gloves, cooked tasted like scented spinach. We had a back garden nearly the size of a tennis court it was mostly dug up in the dig for victory campaign.

My main memory of this is curley kale very strong with tough leaves which we ate. Also when beetroot was dug up we had the tops cooked first then the beetroot. We did the same with radish. Nasturtium and dandelion leaves were good in salads also nasturtium seeds pickled and used like capers I remember.

Dad dug a deep hole in one part of the garden and stored a can of petrol in the bottom, it never got hit with all the incendiary bombs we got instead of them landing on the Manchester Ship Canal.

Buying bread you queued and it came with a thin piece of tissue paper on if you were lucky we kept every single piece of paper in drawer until it could be reused.

Mums pride and joy was a Thor washing machine Dad bought just before the war, it had a huge tub with an agitator in, a mangle on top, you pulled it to the sink and filled it with a hose on the hot tap when finished you pumped the water down the sink. Mum lover her box sweeper too and used it for many years after the vac came into the house.

Grandma knitted me socks with sea boot wool that was used for the silors it smelt horrible but was lovely and warm. At boarding school in the country we kept a few rabbits and enjoyed potato picking.

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