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My recollections of the bombings of Gainsborough

by CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire

Contributed by 
CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
People in story: 
James Naylor
Location of story: 
Gainsborough Lincolnshire
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5021795
Contributed on: 
12 August 2005

This story was submitted to the Peoples War Site by a volunteer from CSV actiondesk on behalf of James Naylor and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Naylor fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

My first recollections of the war were on 3 September 1939 at the age of 7 and the Prime Minister was telling us that the country was at war with Germany. To me this was the most exciting thing ever and I could not understand why both my parents were in tears. I remember my father getting angry and he made me turn the set off.

I had started at junior school, Benjamin Adlards Sandsfield Lane, there they had been air raid shelters around the perimeter and most of them are still there today, we had air raid drills regularly.

My father and mother both worked at Marshalls on munitions. Although my father enlisted in the Airforce, he was not allowed to go because of the importance of the work he was engaged in. He was part of a team building submarines. Mother worked on large naval guns and because she was so small 4 feet 10 inches, part of her job was to crawl up the inside of the barrel to inspect for flaws.

My most vivid memory was one night when in bed, I slept in the attic bedroom, our house was the only 3 storey house in the street. I awoke about 2 am, my father was stood on my bed looking out of the window. He told me to look at the plane out of the window. It was bright moonlight and I saw the plane dive then it was lost from view behind buildings. We then heard loud bangs and explosions, the house shook and several windows cracked. We did not hesitate, we flew downstairs to the cellar that was used as an air shelter. It was not until the following day that we found out that bombs had been dropped and several people had been killed.

We were all encouraged to collect salvage, waste paper and metal. A shield was given for the most collected, I managed to win it once.

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