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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Memories of a Wartime Childhood

by seelib

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Margaret Winfield
Location of story: 
Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
10 December 2004

My name is Margaret and I was born in Holywood on the 15th June, 1930 and I will tell my story....

My earliest memories are of the Silver Jubilee of the King and Queen in 1935. My father was a flautist and drummer in the local band, he had formerly been in the Royal Irish Rifles band in the Great War 1914 - 1918.

I remember after the parade finished outside the Orange Hall, in Redburn Square, a machine which blew up silver and black balloons. The bass drummer got me a balloon and as we knelt together in the square he tole me "let it go, and it could go to America."

I also remember the Coronation of King George in 1937. In 1938 everything would change because there had began to be rumours of an impending war.

Later in 1937 the Ministry of Defence built the Ordnance depot on the site where we had always visited the circus. We children worried about where the circus would pitch their tent the next summer. But it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good, because my father had worked in the linen trade but was unemployed and got a clerical job in the new depot. The summer of 1939 was a long warm summer with us children playing down the shore or in the woods. On September 3rd War was declared.

Then came the black out when all the windows were covered in heavy curtains, and the windows taped to stop the glass shatteringin air raids. We all had to carry gas masks with us all the time. Holywood was a garrison town with a lot of army and sailor about. I remember sitting on the shore wall when the crew of a Sunderland flying boat landed on the Belfast lough, tied the plane to the pier with a rope and walked down the pier into Alex Steens pub for a drink before returning and flying onto Derry.

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