- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Patricia Mary Collins nee McDowell
- Location of story:
- Birmingham and Earby
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 24 June 2005
PATRICIA COLLINS NEE MCDOWELL
This story has been submitted to the People’s War website by Liz Andrew of the Lancshomeguard on behalf of Patricia Mary Collins and added to the site with her permission.
I was nine years old when the war started. We lived in Warley in Birmingham and my dad worked for the Rover Company. He was on night shifts during the War.
We started having air raids in 1940 and 1941. We had an Andersen shelter but we didn’t always use it because it was too cold and sometimes we’d just sit under the stairs. One particular time, I remember, a land mine dropped on the main road only a few yards from where we lived. We had lots of bombing but that’s the one I remember. The windows and door came in. I had twin brothers and a sister who was only two years old and we all ran out of the house - I remember my mother was so upset that she ran round and round the garden with my little sister in her arms.
The land mine caused damage for miles around but we had been shielded by a large Catholic Church nearby. There was an ARP warden in the street at the time — he wasn’t killed but his trousers were blown off in the blast. Eventually we went back into our house — the canary was still under the table in his cage and the water was running in one of the sinks. My Dad came home wondering what he was going to find and was greatly relieved to find us all alive.
A German plane came down near Warley woods and the German pilot was killed — my brother went to the woods and found German body parts.
We didn’t go to school for three months. My mother was so shaken that we went to sleep at the house of some friends nearby. We slept four to a bed, top to tail, while our house was being fixed.
In 1941 my Dad was transferred to Earby by Rover and we all came up in July. At first we lodged with Mr and Mrs Mann. They ran the Fish and Chip shop — I don't remember fish and chips being rationed. It was so quiet here after Birmingham. We all did well — my brother went to Skipton High School and I went to school in Earby.
We had ration books for sweets. We had egg powder which we mixed with water, then fried in a frying pan like an omelette — it was lovely. And we made a sort of chocolate which was a deep yellow colour.
There were Italian prisoners of war at the Manor House in Thornton in Earby — we called them Hi Tis — they had blue uniforms.
Lots of women were working at Rover in Earby and they weren’t able to look after their children and I remember we looked after two girls during the week. They were younger than me — six or eight — they seemed to settle all right.
I left school in 1944 and went to work at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick. VE day was on my birthday, June 6th and I remember we had street parties in Earby to celebrate.
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