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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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IN LOVE AND WARicon for Recommended story

by WRVSpeopleswar

Contributed by 
WRVSpeopleswar
People in story: 
Dolly And Alf Galbally, Stan Harvey,Irene Galbally,Ethel Harvey,Charlie Harvey
Location of story: 
London, Melton Mowbray
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5824073
Contributed on: 
20 September 2005

Dolly Galbally

It was the summer of 1940 in London, I was eighteen and doing a bit of dusting in our front parlour when I looked out of the window and saw the man of my dreams walk by, I watched him till he went round the corner out of sight, then about five minutes later he came back but this time he had a girl called ‘Angie’ on his arm. I knew her from school days and never liked her. The same thing happened several times but the Battle of Britain began and everything changed!

Mum and I had to run to a public air raid shelter when the warning went off. Sometimes we stayed all night but usually it was two or three hours till the all clear went, One night, we went to return home at about 2am but there was a barrier across our street due to an unexploded bomb so we were billeted in another house.
We knew the people by sight and they were sympathetic. We all slept in the air raid shelter in their garden with men on the top shelf and us on the bottom!

There was no bathroom, only a scullery in which people could see into as they walked by so we couldn’t have a strip wash! We didn’t have any clothes with us and this went on for three weeks. Others were in the same boat. The Bomb disposable people were very busy and we had to wait in a queue!
Well one day mum said she had to change her knickers, we knew when the warden went for tea so we could sneak back into our house for some clothes. My heart was in my mouth and it was dark as we did it but as we closed the front door we knew there was something wrong. There was bits and pieces of debris everywhere and as we climbed the stairs we looked up and we could see the sky! We quickly collected our things together and even found shards of glass in the drawers.

Next morning, my eldest brother, a police sergeant, found out where we were billeted and came to see us. He saw our plight and arranged for us to be evacuated to Melton Mowbray where his wife and baby were. So it was with great relief mum and I found ourselves on the train out of London.

My brothers wife Ivy made us very welcome and it was lovely to see their beautiful baby who was mums first granddaughter.
I got a job in a munitions factory in Grantham, 15 miles away making Hispano guns for Spitfires. They gave me an hours instruction on how to use this huge milling machine then told me to take my card over to the office window to get it marked so I could start earning money. I tapped on the window and who should open it? None other than my dream lover who I had seen while doing the dusting in London.

My heart skipped a beat and I told him I knew his girlfriend Angie and he looked surprised and said she was no longer his girl as she had been two timing him. I wondered if I stood a chance but there must have been a 100 girls in the factory and I watched him being chatted up by most of them. I noticed that he blushed when I took my card over but I didn’t stop for a chat.

We worked long hours, and one night as I was finishing, I took my card to his office and he asked me if I would go to the pictures with him. I said I wouldn’t mind and we arranged to meet. I didn’t think I would sleep but I did so I wasn’t so tired for my date.
The film was ‘One Hundred Men And A Girl’ with Deana Durbin in her first film and she was lovely! We enjoyed the movie and chatted a lot. He told me about his childhood and how he couldn’t join up because of an early bout of rheumatic fever.
He also told me he wasn’t interested in any one else and asked me to be his girl!

One morning, going home from work at 7am, Alf proposed to me and of course I said yes! The following Saturday we went to Leicester and he bought me an engagement ring. I was 19 and unaware of the problems ahead, everything was in short supply. I eventually found some silk for my dress and managed to get some blue Taffeta for Alfs’ sister who would be bridesmaid! My eldest brother Charlie had a camera and offered to film the ceremony so my other brother Stan gave me away! We set the date as 28th June 1941. We had to get time off from the munitions factory where we both worked seven days/nights a week. Mum and I saved our sugar and egg ration for the Wedding cake. I got the weekend off but Alf could only have the one day. I got a lovely bouquet and we were married in perfect weather in St.Mary’s church in Melton-Mowbray. Everybody gave some food for the reception such as Spam, pickled onions and easy to make fairy cakes! We had one bottle of sherry which stan bought. Altogether it was an unforgettable day.

A year and a day later our first baby was born.(She is now a pensioner!) It wasn’t long after that Alf was called up into the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry. They were in on the D-Day landings and I was worried sick about Alf but it turned out that he was in Egypt in June 1944, although he wasn’t allowed to tell me that!
This year we celebrate 64 years of marriage and we still love each other

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