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15 October 2014
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My memories of growing up in Wolverhampton during the war

by cambsaction

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Elizabeth Glover, known as Elizabeth Sanders
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21 December 2005

I was born in 1931… so I was eight when the war broke out. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and hearing the broadcast that declared war….

During those years, when I was at school. Being close to Birmingham, which was viciously bombed, nearby areas where I lived were also bombed. Although we did have an Anderson Shelter in the back garden, because it always used to flood so much we also went to one of the communal shelters, one of the huge ones underground.

I used to go in about 6.30 in the evening when there was a lot of bombing. As a school girl I had to do my homework down there and we didn’t come out til 7.30 in the morning! Didn’t get much sleep — I woner how I managed to get to schools and pass exams. You were expected to perform no matter what had happened in the evening — no special exceptions were made.

You used to come out and wonder if your house was still there…

There was always a red haze in the air when they were bombing. I could tell the difference between the tone of the engines between the German bombers and the English planes. I still can now!

When I hear the sirens now it still makes me shiver.

Later on in the war when the doodlebugs came over, we heard those coming over too. You used to hope and pray that they wouldn’t cut out. If it cut out, usually they would say — ‘your time is up’.

I used to see whole streets that had been hit by landmines. They were a type of German bomb ad they were very powerful. The blast from that was very loud ad would take out whole streets.

A certain number of my friends were killed during this time… It was just something you had to get used…

My adoptive parents would have foreign soldiers or airmen round for Christmas meals sometimes. Once it was very foggy. The airmen were very late, but it was great fun having these airmen there… and they were so grateful to have somewhere to go for Christmas.

In the summer, I used to bike out to Hednesford Airfield and you could see the air crews sitting about in deckchairs in the sun, and when the siren sounded they dropped everything, run to their aircraft and get into the air — it was amazing…

In the summer I went down to Devon…. And I was there when they bombed Plymouth… Just nine miles away. They pretty much flattened Plymouth. But not the dock area which is what they were aiming for!!

They had to rebuild — and they did it in a grid style.

Sometimes you would go out after the bombing even if you were told not to… Once I thought I saw a doll, but it was a human body part, and I saw quite a lot of these in Plymouth… horrible, but part of life at the time.

I used to stand on the cliffs in Devon and you would see the dog fights over the English channel between the Brits and the Germans…. The Germans were coming over and as soon as they were alerted, the Brits would go up and intercept them. The vapour trails were magnificent and I saw many planes shot down, both British and German. It was really quite a sight. You forgot about your own safety, it was just amazing to see…

As I grew older I used to like listening to the Glen Miller style music. I would go to dances and have a wonderful time… With the jiving and the popular music it was fun… The management would announce that the sirens had gone and did people want to evacuate — but quite often people just stayed and kept dancing, because there was always an air-raid warning!

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