- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Marie Airey nee Buckley
- Location of story:
- Braithewaite village, West Yorkshire and hospitals in Keighley and North Yorkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 02 August 2004
This story was submitted to the People`s War site by Alan Magson of Age Concern Bradford and District on behalf of Marie Airey and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site`s terms and conditions.
War was declared on my 2nd birthday (September 3rd 1939) so I haven’t many memories of it until I became ill with Infantile Paralysis (Polio) in 1944.
I spent two weeks in complete isolation in Keighley Fever Hospital, before being transferred to an Orthopaedic Hospital in Kirbymoorside.
I still have a toy elephant made in felt by a war-wounded soldier, who was recovering from leg wounds (I don’t know how seriously hurt he was).
During the 13 months I was in three different hospitals, the other two were large houses which had been converted ( Welburn Hall and Norton Towers). My parents had to pay something towards the cost, and so Mum went to work on the evening shift in a Keighley mill, leaving home just as Dad came in from his work — he was a precision engineer at George Hattersley`s, so he wasn’t away fighting in the war.
Visiting day was one Saturday a month, Mum always came (she cut my hair each visit) though not always Dad as there were two older children to look after.
Princess Margaret came to visit the patients one day, and I remember being given 2/6d. in Savings Stamps for the Red/White/Blue striped little purse I had sewn with my one working arm. I was also allowed to turn the wheel on the hospital sewing machine when there was mending of sheets etc. to do. I was rewarded with a few cornflakes and dried fruit !!
My Mum and a friend once missed their stop on the train — ended up in Sheffield — and had to come back to Keighley on the milk train. I presume they had to go to the police station and ask them to phone Keighley police asking them to let anxious husbands and family know they were safe. This happened in the days of blackout of course.
I arrived back home at Braithwaite village in June 1945 and have happy memories of pushing my doll’s pram in the Victory Gala decked out in red/white and blue, held in the open-air school grounds.
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