- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Muriel Edwards, Mother, Father, Raymond
- Location of story:
- Normanton, Leeds, West Yorkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 05 June 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Tanya Proudlove from Lancshomeguard on behalf of Muriel Edwards and has her permission.
I was on holiday with Mum and Dad at Blackpool when WWII broke out, all the entertainments closed and no-one was allowed on the sands as the soldiers were putting concrete blocks and barbed wire fencing there in case the Germans tried to come ashore.
I can still see mum helping the landlady put up blackout curtains and dad helping to put crossed strips of paper on the window panes to stop the glass from shattering if we were bombed. I also remember lots of women and children walking past on the pavement and shouting they were evacuees from Liverpool. We had to give up our rooms for them and go home.
I also remember the school playground had to be dug up and a shelter being made underground. We children only went down it once. We had to practice putting on our gas masks and keeping them on for a while. I haven't forgotten the smell they had.
The first time I tried on a gas mask was when I dressed in a long frock of mum's and a pair of her high-heeld shoes and set off for town (Normanton in Yorkshire), with another girl and our next door neighbour's little boy, to the ARP hut. Raymond cried so the man told him there was a toffee in the bottom of the mask to get him to try it on.
We always went next door to Raymond's house if there was an air raid and dad was at work. There was a shelter in our garden, a brick building, which wouldn't have been any use if the house had been bombed. It would have gone up with half of the street.
The night Leeds was bombed I remember watching the German planes going over our house and the throb of their engines. I will never forget seeing the sky lit up with all the searchlights and the sound of gunfire.
Another time, mum, dad and myself had been to the pictures, when on the screen flashed a warning to say there was an air raid. Dad always had to see the film through to the end. As we set off to walk home the sky suddenly lit up with searchlights and there was a dogfight going on. I set off to run as fast as I could I was so frightened. I did hide in the garden shelter that night.
Mum and I went to visit a relative in Newark. It took ages on the train. Coming back I remember sitting in the corner of the carriage listening to the sound of heavy gunfire and seeing a plane picked out in the searchlights, which was following the train.
One Christmas mum and I hid in the pantry under the stairs during an air raid. I remember there was a goose hanging behind the door. It was for our Christmas dinner.
The speeches "Lord Haw Haw" made on the wireless terrified me, and a soon as he started to talk I would go and hide upstairs.
I remember, like everyone else, the blackout. Couldn't see a thing. Everyone had a torch, but they had to be careful to keep it pointing to the floor. ARP Wardens rode round on bikes or walked and you would hear them shouting "Put that light out!"
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