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by cornwallcsv

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01 November 2005

This story has been written on to the BBC People’s War site by CSV Story Gatherer Pamela Barnett — Callington U3A — on behalf of Pat Davies. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.


My name is Patricia Davies. I wasn’t born till after the War. These are memories I’m relating of my mother’s, Floss Hallows, nee Hawkins, relating to her and her father, Arthur Hawkins, and my father, Frank Hallows.


During the war, my mother was down in the East End of London working for Ministry of Food. Her father, who worked for Trinity House, was also down there. And she tells me that every morning she used to walk down on the docks with him and when he came to these large wooden gates that were all locked up and guarded by soldiers he would leave her to go into these gates and she carried on to work. One day she said to him “What do you do in there?” and he said “Not much”, but after the D-Day landings it turned out that he had been on secret work for the Mulberrys that were used for the Normandy landings and subsequently received a medal from the King. I still have the letter from the King regretting that my grandfather wouldn’t go to Buckingham Palace but he felt that he didn’t deserve the medal because he was only the leader of the team.

My mother worked for the Ministry of Food during the day but all her spare time she was doing all the other things that everybody did, doing their bit. She was a firewatcher on top of the buildings, watching out for all the fires that there were during the bombing. She was very claustrophobic and I discovered afterwards why because one day her home was bombed and she was sheltering under a table — the strong ones that were used as shelters — and she was there for several hours, but she never talked about it.


During this time my father, Frank Hallows, who had been courting my mum for five years, was up in North Wales. He worked for John Summers and Sons, the steelworks in Shotton, and lived in Queensferry, which was Deeside right up in the top of North Wales, near to Chester. He had tried to join the Royal Navy but they wouldn’t let him. They said that steel making was just as important.

But in all his spare time he worked for the Home Guard and he drove the ambulances, with no headlights, he used to tell me, in the dark, and just tried to do his bit. He and Mum didn’t see each other very often but whenever they could they would meet half way on Rugby railway station. Sounds very romantic but not very nice, but it was a true test of their love which lasted over fifty-five years. They were married in January 1955 in Rayleigh in Essex and I know when they were standing outside the church having their photographs taken, there was a doodlebug raid. So, Dad was very pleased to get back to North Wales and carry on his work.

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