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A Boys War in Liverpool

by threecountiesaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
threecountiesaction
People in story: 
William J Reynolds, Mum, Dad, Auntie Ann, Uncle Bill
Location of story: 
Liverpool
Article ID: 
A5184579
Contributed on: 
18 August 2005

This story was submitted to People’s War site by Three Counties Action on behalf of Bill Reynolds and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was born on 5th September 1937, two years and two days before the 2 world war was declared.

In June 1941 my auntie Ann and Uncle Bill married and I was the pageboy dressed in white parachute silk. Sugar was not available so the cake was made from cocoa

Horse and cart delivered our milk. My mum would take a large jug and the milkman would pour from the churn. Milk was not pasteurised and I got bovine tuberculosis, glandular TB. I was seen frequently by our family doctor who would ride his bike s petrol was in short supply. My dad was a merchant Seaman and on the convoys from Liverpool to Russia.

I went into hospital for surgery for a TB abscess in my neck. Parents were not allowed in to visit their children then. At night I could see the search lights on the docks and hear the German planes as they bombed all around the hospital, but never hit it.

We lived in Allerton a leafy area 3 miles from Speke where Dunlop’s had a large tyre making factory and there were many airplane factories, which were targets too. The German bombers came both day and night. There was a large flat top truck which had a Boffer’s Gun mounted on it that ran up and down the main road stopping then firing its gun. This happen mostly at night.

We had a Anderson shelter in the back garden and we went in sometimes, but mostly we went under the stairs. Because I had TB we got extra food that my mum had to queue for with my special coupons. My day left the navy and worked on the docks at Garston. He brought home oranges. I never saw a banana until 1946.

In 1945 I remember VE day. I went with my day to a shop in Garston where he bought firework. We had a street party and a bonfire around the lamppost. My brother was born in August 1945.

We kept four ducks throughout the war years and my dad had an allotment on which he grew fresh vegetables and we had fresh duck eggs. At the war end at Christmas 1945 we had a bird for Christmas dinner. I asked my dad where he got the chicken from, as they were very scarce. My mum said it was duck.

Many of my school friends who lived in Garston and Dingle some of whom were bombed out of sometimes twice in a month. In the Dingle there were fuel storage tanks and across the river Mersey the Port Sunlight refinery. Every night the bombers attacked the Dingle and Port Sunlight and the Ack Ack guns would shoot many hundred of shells, which exploded over wither Port Sunlight or Dingle. This meant that tons of shrapnel cascaded on the people causing serious injury. On the day following the boys would bring their shrapnel trophies to school to swap with other.

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