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Irish Mums War work

by ateamwar

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Family Life

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Sally Benbow
Location of story: 
Bootle Tuebrook
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
12 August 2005

Taken from a letter sent to BBC Radio Merseyside Station from a listener in Garston.

In 1939, my father who was born in Southern Ireland (and was in the British Army in the First World War) went to Belfast in N. Ireland to join the British Army again.

A month later, my eldest brother did the same.

That left my mum, 17 ½ year old brother, my sister and myself and 3 ½ year old brother in Ireland.

The end of April 1940 my mum decided we should come to England to be where the men where. We arrived in England with a tin bath of dishes; her sewing machine and we all had a case of clothes and my dolls pram.

My 17 year old brother was not allowed to come as he hadn’t a job to come to.

We came to live in Bootle in Hawthorn road, went to live in rooms in a house where an ex-girlfriend of my uncle lived. We did not know anyone else.

We used to end up most nights in an underground shelter in the park.

One night there were no houses to go back to, that happened twice.

We moved to Tuebrook there was plenty of empty houses then.

My mum got a job for my brother.
He was only there a few months when he joined the army.
We were here without the men.

Each Thursday, my mum, sister and myself and younger brother went with our identity cards to the police stations. We went every week of the War. My mum didn’t object to it, she thought it only right. Any woman who didn’t work the police would knock and ask would they mind children whose mum’s were doing War work. Mum looked after quite a few. Mum didn’t take payment as she said it was her bit of War work.

We were brought up to be more English than the English.

A different War story?

PS When my youngest brother was 18 on my wedding day he announced he had joined the army, he was in the Cyprus War.

‘This story was submitted to the People’s War site by BBC Radio Merseyside’s People’s War team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with his/ her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.’

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