- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Barbara Joan Ward, Marjorie Jean Ward, Laura Catherine Ward
- Location of story:
- Ipswich, Suffolk. UK
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 November 2004
In 1939 when the war was declared I was just one month off my tenth birthday. My father was going away to the army and my mother and myself and my sister Moe were left at home in Ipswich in the town centre in a small terraced house.
The first year of the war did not seem so bad, in fact it was exciting being evacuated to Liecester but my mother Laura was not at all happy being separated from my sister and I and we returned to Ipswich after three months.
I remember my father home on leave and insisting that we practice folding our clothes neatly in the night before bedtime so that we could dress quickly in the dark and get to the air raid shelter in record time. This we did quite expertly after a lot of practicing. Each morning after an air raid we would scour the streets nearby looking for shrapnel as it was usual for us to find out where the bombs had dropped in Ipswich and we could go and look at the damage.
Most of the bomb damage was in the docks area and I can remember standing in the centre of Ipswich watching the huge fire after Paul's Warehouse was bombed on the docks.
After some time we did not bother to go down the air raid shelter at the end of the road, instead when the siren sounded we got dressed and stayed indoors in the warm in a cupboard under the stairs. One night however my mother became too anxious as we heard the doodlebugs go overhead so we had to leave the cupboard and we dodged under the living room table. It was quite strong but not big enough for the three of us and my mother could only get her upper half in, leaving her rear end protruding. It was terrifying and funny all at the same time.
Another way were got through the air raids was to stand on the doorstep and watch the search lights in the sky catching an enemy plane. We would watch the red tracer bullets streaming upwards to shoot it down. It all seemed very exciting at the time and we didn't give a thought to the poor pilot above. I also remember the German plane crash landing in Gippeswyk park one afternoon and seeing the parachutes as they escaped.
There were many bombs dropped on Ipswich and surrounding areas but we were lucky, even though a family house was completely destroyed only half a mile away.
I was fifteen years old when my father returned after his demob. and we could all relax and get back to some kind of normality.
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