- Contributed by
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- Maureen Brudenell Masters
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- 12 December 2005
"This story was submitted to the People's War site by CSV/BBC Radio Nottingham on behalf of Maureen Brudenell Masters with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions"
School Air-Raid shelters — and don’t forget your gas masks! Mine was a “Mickey Mouse” one with big ears and a red tongue! The shelters were dark and dirty and the lads wee’d all over the walls — it was AWFUL. Many tears for Mummy!
When the air-raid sirens went and you were in the bath — tough! OUT. DRY. DRESS. SHELTER. And keep head down — goodness knows why!
All these quirks were serious then but of course laughter now.
Eat up. All your meal or Woolton (the Minister for food I think) would visit and you would be in trouble! Children did not like trouble in those days — there was enough about for those who had the brain to see — some had!
Only evacuees cried — and they had something to cry and sulk about — away from London and/or home. I never cried — I fought. Cockney sparrows do!
But they also knew the ways of the world to get through — actors and actresses of today could learn a thing or two about “acting” — it never leaves you when one had to “act” to survive (pretend — whatever).
If no garden was available “to dig for victory” it was useful to have a relative who worked in a food shop! Believe me. We did, double luck — made a change.
Also an aunt who worked in an electrical shop and two uncles who worked in textiles — very handy for light bulbs and material — of sorts!
We went carol-singing in the dark in 2s and 3s — no problem.
Once, when Dad was stationed at Norfolk we went to him in his “digs” (lodgings). We had to fetch the water in a bucket from a pump half a mile up a hill. It was kept in a “pantry” with a damp cloth cover. Nearby was an American Camp, so we were never short of gum, chocolate, etc. or the ladies of nylon stockings.
The nights were long and warm — called “double summer-time”. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, but it was good when rationing ended and colour came back and we young “war babies” became teenage “bobby-soxers” (for a very short time). We had a lot of time to make up!
THE BLACK 40’s — GONE
Poems by Maureen Bludenell Masters
War Years — 60 years on
Do not celebrate victory — they say,
It’s a long time
The enemy’s defeat — they say,
It could have been us
So listen to the fighters’ and survivors’ story
We must have first
(Maureen Bludenell Masters, July 2005)
On a war gravestone
I have no children of my own
So it is very clear
None to keep my memory fresh
When I am gone from here.
No child to plant a posy
At my feet and breast
No flowers to drink the dewdrops
As I lie at rest.
Mourn not for me, dear reader
As to this stone you come
I carry with me memories
These — my memoriam.
(Maureen Brudenell Masters, July 2005)
60 years of P_E_A_C_E
Pray for peace
Pray for victory.
Praise a military glory
But also praise
The courageous endurance of
A civilian population.
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