- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Pauline Davies
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 March 2005
The siren in Leominster was at the rear of Woolworths, and my bedroom window was within yards of it. It used to go off all the time and it was very noisy! Whenever there were any signs of anything happening it went off.
I can remember the street party the day the war ended, probably VJ day. It was the whole length of Etnam Street. It joined up with the Worcester Road residents and their party. I cannot think how many people that was. We had a competition — I was dressed in a man's black suit with a bowler hat, it had struck matches all over it as there was a match strike at the time. I won second prize. We had tressle tables all the way down the street — the food was good. I don’t remember what it was but I remember the party!
I went to a small private school called Sunny Croft, and two of our past pupils, our teacher used to tell us every time a plane went overhead, were battle of Britain pilots, the Edwards brothers, Michael and Gerald. Both survived the war, they lived just outside Leominster. Our teacher was so proud of them. I was about 8-9. I knew them later when I was older.
The soldiers were very good to us, there was never any fear. They used to give us chewing gum. There was one type of gum called Soap Doap. It was red, and it wasn’t very nice, but it was something. They were very generous when we went to their party at Barons Cross. We marched through town in the party in a procession, all the children. The party was for the children of the town. Part of the town went to Bateman’s buildings party, and the other half went to Barons Cross party. The chef was called Blue Eyes, he made us what we called the first gateaux. It was all mushy and lovely and we thought it was wonderful. It really stuck in my mind.
We had rations and I was a very poor eater. It was nine points for a quarter of sweets —that was about all I would eat.
There was a woman shot and killed in Leominster. Her name was Mrs Ree. She was shot by Sgnt Bullock in Bateman’s building. She was having an affair with him, and they had a big argument. He shot he. I remember hearing it as a child, when I wasn’t supposed to be listening. My mother knew her, but we weren’t supposed to know about it, but we did. It was a very big thing at the time, a country wide scandal. He was British. He served a long time in prison.
There were three barracks in our street, British troops. They were very good to us. We used to fetch all their fish and chips for them. One man left his dog with me, his name was Jim.
There were queues for everything, chicken was once a year on Christmas day, unless you lived on a farm. We lived on tripe and onions, I didn’t know what it was then, and corned beef, which I’ve never eaten since. And spam, and most popular was rabbit — roast stewed, but always rabbit. All locally caught and sold on the black market.
My dad was in London, he was a little to old to be sent away. He was stationed just near Enfield, we went there the day the war ended. He came home on leave, and my mother got £1.50 from the army to keep us, and 50p went on rent, so we had a pound to live on.
I went to Enfield to the Walkers on VJ day and got off the train in the middle of blitzed streets. I was so shocked by it all I walked into a lamppost! I had a huge lump on my head. They had an Anderson shelter in the garden and that was just magic to us — we thought that was wonderful. We played in the shelter, we had never seen one before. The lady there was called Joyce Walker. Dad was billeted there and they were very friendly, they helped him.
Mother’s family suffered a lot. Her dad was lost in the First World War, they never found him. Her two brothers were killed, Joey and George, 22 and 24. The other brother, Uncle ‘Bing’, had his leg off. He was in the military hospital in Oswestry. He was a boxer and he never really got over it — it made such a difference to his life, although he did go on to have four children. He died in his sixties. I remember Uncle George, he had bought me a Mickey Mouse bike. His daughter was only three.
He was shot in the back and fell in a puddle ofwater and drowned. There was no-one there to save him. I think it was in Holland. People used to wear black arm bands and there were lots of weeping women. I was left to look after my cousins while my aunt went to the funeral. You couldn’t afford black clothes.
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