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Siren suits and sweet rations - a 14 year old's war

by actiondesksheffield

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People in story: 
Lilian Slater
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Contributed on: 
30 June 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Frances Read of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Lilian Slater, and has been added to the site with the author’s permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

Air raid sirens would go, and we’d put on siren suits. Mine was green, and it was lovely and warm with a hood. Our next door neighbours’ shelters were flooded out, so we had to let them in ours. We would then hear the planes coming over dropping bombs. It was absolutely terrible, you used to think it was your house that they’d hit — they hadn’t, but it wasn’t very far away. They supplied us with gas masks but they never got used. The sirens were very loud and would go off again when it was all clear. They also had barrage balloons to try to catch Germans!

One Sunday night we were in the house and never heard the sirens - we wore ear plugs to drown out the noise - so one of the wardens came to get us out.

We got ration books and clothing coupons — 2 ounces of tea a week; everything was cut down to a limit. We’d be lucky if we’d get a bag of sweets a fortnight.

If you put lights on, wardens would shout, “Get that light out!” And we’d have black screens, so you couldn’t see anything from the outside.

People would come to see if we’d billet soldiers in our houses — some people did — they were good lads and would ask if we’d like a drink.


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