- Contributed by
- BBC Scotland
- People in story:
- Marjorie Elizabeth Stewart and Mrs Tindle (full name not known)
- Location of story:
- Sunderland - Tyne and Wear
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 14 July 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War Site by Nadine from the People’s War team on behalf of Marjorie Elizabeth Stewart and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
I was 12 the day the after the war was declared and remember well the Sunday lunchtime when sirens went all over the country. My father, a World War I soldier, had all our family down into the Anderson shelter in our garden in two minutes flat and there we stood, with our gas masks on, until the all-clear sounded. Sunday lunch was interrupted by our next door neighbours looking for help. Their mother — she of very ample proportions — was firmly stuck in the shelter doorway. Fright had got her IN but no amount of pulling could get her OUT. My father took command and pushed her in again, got in behind her and pushed while we pulled and eventually “like a cork out of a bottle” out she popped. Great hilarity amongst us kids but Mrs Tindle never went down that shelter, in Faraday Grove again, no matter how bad the bombing raids became.
Travelling into my work in the centre of Sunderland after a night of bombing was surprising. BINNS, one of our very large department stores, on the main street had completely disappeared — not a ball of wool or article of clothing etc. to be seen, just rubble. Strangest of all was the damage at the railway station, which was a long way below the level of the main street. A complete locomotive was lifted by the bomb blast, up many many yards out of the station, over the parapet wall and was embedded in the shop window of Joseph’s Sport Shop in Blandford Street. After rebuilding, the shop displayed a photograph of this spectacle for many years.
Personally, the main lasting effect on me of the war was disruption to my education — not to be compared with the damage to other people’s lives! Children were evacuated from the centre of Sunderland but I lived on the outskirts and stayed at home thankfully, but school accommodation and teachers were scarce.
School for many months was held in my mother’s dining room, with 8 or 9 other children, and our school Domestic Science teacher — who was smashing — but it was hardly the best run up to secondary education. I finally got to secondary school at least a year and a half behind everyone else and catching up on Maths, Foreign Languages etc., was very difficult — at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!
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