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My 1943

by derbycsv

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Mrs Jacqueline Waller
Location of story: 
Alfreton, Derbyshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 September 2005

This story was submitted by Alison Tebbutt, Derby CSV Action Desk on behalf of Jacqueline Waller. The author has given her permission and fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

In 1943 Luftwaffe raids began again in London. Churchill, De Gaulle and Roosevelt met in Casablanca. The Eighth Army captured Tripoli. At seven years old all this washed over me. I couldn’t remember anything else, only war, but I knew everyone longed for peace. Betty Grable, the blonde bombshell, had her legs insured for £50,000. I couldn’t see anything special about her legs, she had two didn’t she? She had one on each corner, just like everyone else. Anyway, I much preferred to see George Formby or Abbott and Costello when I went to the pictures.

1943 slowly unfolded for me in a comfortable pattern of school days (oh, that seven times-table,) home time, tea time, and that lovely stretchy sweet smelling bread. News time on the radio was never missed, ever, with Mum placing coloured pins on a huge map of Europe that stayed on the wall for five years. Playtime in our small cobble street of six houses and a dozen allotment gardens was skipping, hop-scotch, tin-can-a-lerkie and hide and seek.

I remember blue skies and sunshine but not rain, yet I did have Wellingtons and a mac and small umbrella. I remember Dad coming home on leave and bringing me a small bar of chocolate. Hurray!! I put on his tin hat, stood to attention with his rifle and I ate all that chocolate, bite, snap, chew, all gone, that was good. I remember gas masks (good fun.) I remember ration books. I remember the sirens (didn’t like that,) I remember the all clear (liked that.) I remember bombs dropping on Alfreton that were meant for Rolls-Royce at Derby. I didn’t like that either.

I remember those years vividly and was very happy and secure. Now at fifty-seven I can’t remember vividly to fetch the bread or where I put my purse or what happened yesterday. Why?

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