- Contributed by
- BBC Scotland
- People in story:
- Alison Noble
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 31 January 2006
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Vijiha Bashir, at BBC Scotland on behalf of Alison Noble and has been added to the site with the permission of Johnstone History Society. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
The blackout was awful, everything was so dark with material over the windows, no street lighting and at nights you could hear the terrible sound of planes flying overhead. It was just the awful drone which frightened me and I was forever thinking that the bombs would land right on top of our house. I was only 9 years of age when the war ended and I remember the tin foil floating down from the sky, this, I was told had something to do with Radar.
My father was in the Airforce and when he came home I got the job of polishing his buttons for him. He had a U shaped contraption which went under the buttons so that the polish should not go onto the cloth. Before he joined the RAF he was doing duty at the observation post, near to our house and I remember him going away with a flask filled with tea, or maybe it was whiskey.
When the air raid sirens went off, that too was a terrible sound. We had shutters made for the dining room windows and we would be lifted from our beds and brought downstairs to sleep under the dining room table. I remember my father had been at home the night of the Clydebank Blitz and he came up to my bedroom and lifted me up to the window to see all the flames of the town which was being targeted. It was quite a sight, one which I have never forgotten.
We used to have some service boys come to the house and they were always given a good meal sharing what we had and then we all used to gather round the piano and sing some songs. When there was a news broadcast on the wireless we all had to sit quiet and listen, the adults paid great attention to the news and did not allow any noise from the children when the wireless was on. Vera Lynn used to sing all the war songs that was very nice to hear.
Food rationing was very bad and I would stand for a long time with my mother in a queue at the butchers when there was meat to buy. Going to stay with my grandmother was a trial, my uncle stayed with her and I don’t think they had very much but I think that she got 2 eggs a week and 4 ounces of butter. She used to say to us that she would rather keep us a week than a fortnight. Sweeties were on ration too and they did not come off rationing until 1953, but what joy to go into a shop and buy 4 ounces of rosebuds!
We had ration books and when I went away to school my mother swapped her sugar coupons to buy my school uniform. There were half moon labels on the sheets and I can’t remember what that was for and when the war ended my father put up huge flags on our gate posts. What excitement.
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