- Contributed by
- CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
- People in story:
- Charles Ireland
- Location of story:
- Stamford, Lincs
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 August 2005
I was 10 years old in the summer of 1939. During the summer of 1939 there were many stories going around that there would be a war between Germany and other European Countries including Great Britain. Al the grown ups including my Mother and Father would gather round the radio when the news bulletins were broadcast. (Top of the Pops that summer was a tune called ‘South of the Border down Mexico Way’).
In August the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, flew to Germany for a meeting with Adolf Hitler. He came back with an agreement that Germany would not attack other and weaker countries, but a few days later, Saturday Sept 2nd, the German Army massed on the borders of Poland and marched into that country.
We were told that there would be a broadcast on the radio at 11 o Clock on Sunday Sept 3rd. The Prime Minister spoke of what had happened and that Great Britain was at war with Germany.
On that morning (Sept 3rd) I had gone for a walk with my friend to his Grandma’s house and when we heard the news she told us to go straight home.
On the Sunday afternoon we were told to go to the sand pits in a village near to my home town of Stamford where we were asked to fill bags (sacks) full of sand.
As the bags were filled Lorries kept coming to take them to the local hospital, fire station and police station. They were placed against the walls of these buildings to protect them against bombs. My mother and my sister stayed at home to stick strips of paper on the windows to hold them together if we were bombed and to make dark curtains to stop the house lights at night from showing — that was the first day of the war.
Over the next few days everyone was issued with a gas mask and a ration book. All food was rationed except bread and cakes. All clothing was rationed, sweets were rationed. I think we used to get 2 ounces of sweets or chocolate each week.
The churches were not allowed to ring their bells because if the bells rang that was to tell everyone that the Germans were landing. We had to listen for an air raid siren which we nicknamed ‘moaning minnie’ but when it sounded we had to go to the air raid shelters.
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