BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

30 August 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

The day I was Biggles

by seelib

Contributed by 
seelib
People in story: 
James Kelly
Location of story: 
Annsborough, Co. Down
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3412685
Contributed on: 
15 December 2004

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Eileen Parker of SEELB staff on behalf of Mr James Kelly wih his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

A British plane crash-landed in Ballylough, near Annsborough. It was an Avro-Anson with a crew of four. I was allowed into the cockpit because I was lucky and I was the only one there and the RAF MP was kind. I was nine years old and I was Biggles!
Great excitement when the GIs arrived and Nissen huts sprang up everywhere. They brought our first contact with American comics and chewing gum. At Christmas time they gave a party for the local schoolchildren. This was probably the first party some had ever been to. After 60-odd years I can still remember one soldier with a beautiful voice singing China Doll.
One day in 1943 we were all ordered to go straight home from school. When we came out the road we saw the tanks were all
camouflaged and an enemy plane flew very low over the village.
We could see the pilot clearly looking down at us. Later I heard this spy plane was shot down over the North Sea. And then one morning the soldiers and tanks had all disappeared. We didn’t know then but this was in preparation for D’Day. One of the local tank regiments was the first on to Omaha Beach with a heavy loss of life.
One of our neighbours, Ethel McCracken, had 2 sons serving in the war; Sidney in the army and Brian in the navy, on the USS
Missouri when they took Japan’s surrender in 1945.
My cousin David McIlroy served on a Royal Navy destroyer on the Baltic run. The ship had been hurriedly welded together and would shudder terribly. Ice formed in bad weather so they were unable to fire the guns. Incredibly, all three of these lads survived.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - The day I was Biggles

Posted on: 15 December 2004 by Audrey Lewis - WW2 Site Helper

Dear James Kelly,
Thank you for letting me read your story - which I found so interesting. At the age of nine - it must have been a 'wonder world' with all those changes going on around you? There were bad times but also good times too. What a shock when you discovered all those men had gone over to France.
One of my stories tells of a very brave man who was on the Malta to Russia runs.
Kind regards,
Audrey Lewis

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Childhood and Evacuation Category
Northern Ireland Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy