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A Yorkshire Child's View of Air Raids

by cornelius

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Ann Dowling
Location of story: 
Anlaby, a village near Hull in East Yorkshire.
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
09 November 2003

I was 2 when the war started,and unaware of it until the air-raids began. In 1940 my eldest brother was mother bore him at home as the hospitals then only took emergency cases. I remember the occaision v. clearly. My father was a foreign national [Dutch] and as such was taken into a concentration camp but soon released to do war work. However that is not this particular story, only some background.

Hull was an important port, and as such was subject to a concentrated aerial bombardment for some long time.I do not know the dates, butit was roughly about the time I was 4-6years old.
Anlaby was a small village on the outskirts and came in for all the inaccurately dropped bombs.I had an uncle in the RAF who used to stay when on leave. He was usually in a highly nervous state, especially after the siege of Malta. He would stand in the garden watching the raid, and the " chandeliers" dropped by pilots to light up the area.
We had an air raid shelter in the garden. At first we would wait for the sirens before going to it. Before long the raids were night after we slept in there for what seems months, maybe years. Sometimes bombs dropped in the wood behind our house and we children would find the craters next day when we were playing. Once or twice they were unexploded. Then we would be evacuated, usually to the west coast...Southport/St Anns/Lytham.
One night the bombing was particularly heavy and persistant. We had to leave our house and gather in one of our neighbour's houses running through streets covered in broken glass.
[As a young child I seem to remember in snapshot pictures]
I remember the room being v. hot and crowded. The men were standing against the walls, the women were holding the babies and us children sat on the floor.Suddenly a young man started to shout, demanding we surrender, flailing his arms, obviously panicking.The men [close to breaking themselves] fought with him and took him out and away. We never saw him again and no one wanted to talk about him.
Of all the pictures of the war in my memory that one was the only time I felt really frightened. As a child, I accepted the situation as normal, as children do!

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The Blitz Category
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