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- Fountain Primary School
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- KANE WRAY writes LESLIE SMYTH'S story
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- 25 May 2005
On September 3rd 1939 the Britsh Prime Minister declared that Great Britan with France was at war with Germany. This announcment made an immediate impact on lives of all citizens of the United kingdom.
Thefirst change to our way of living was the introduction of what we called the Blackout.All street was restricted by the use of special masking and this resulted in what might best be described as a felling of eerieness but for us youngsters it was great fun. Motor car lights also had to have masks fitted to curtail the light and of course all homes had to have all windows had to be blacked out.Woe betide anyone who allowed a light to be seen from the outside. They were brought before the courts and heavily fined.
Installed in our city was an Air Raid siren, the purpose of which was to alert the citizens of an impending air raid. A loud seris of short moaning sounds was the signal of a air raid and a long continual sound was the signal that all was clear. Elderly people were provided with an Anderson Shelter. This was a construction of very metal top and four legs with fitted mesh sides the idea being that during a raid or any damage done to your home you would have good protection inside the shelter. Air Raid shelters were also erected in city streets and these were simply brick walls with a heavy concrete roof and an opening to provide entry in the case of an emergency.
Later came the supply of gas masks and identify cards. It was an absolute requirement to carry your gas mask with you even to school and your identidy card. Food rationing was then introduced which meant that all the main items of food such as bread,milk,butter,cheese,suger and tea etc. could only be purchased when sufficient coupons and these only allowed you a small portion each week.Yes even sweets were rationed. Clothing then became rationed and you were allowed just a small number of coupons which you handed over with your money. During this time some parents sent thier kids to relatives in places that they considered safer and many children wre evacuated out of the cities to the countryside. This happened mostly in England.
In 1941 THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC broke out and LONDONDERRY became a great refueling dock. The dock almost had two hundred ships. One air raid hit Londonderry and brought destruction and loss of life.
LESLIE SMYTH LIVING IN LONDONDERRY THROUGH THE YEARS OF WORLD WAR 2
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