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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
Wolverhampton Libraries & Archives
People in story: 
Jean Davis
Location of story: 
Wolverhampton
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3794899
Contributed on: 
16 March 2005

I remember the first bomb that they dropped. It was one Sunday. It was just before the war had been declared. Teatime, it was - and all of a sudden there was this racket - a hell of a row. I shot in the pantry. My mother and father stayed in the living room but I was in the pantry with the door shut. I think they dropped it on the racecourse - they were looking for Boulton Pauls. You see they followed the canal. We lived at Bushbury and the canal was about two minutes away. Where I lived was at the bottom of Bushbury Lane. There used to be a row of terraced houses and we lived in the end one - well, the canal's only down South Street, and of course, the racecourse is just across there. I can remember it all very clearly. I think I was dressing up in my mother's long dress and, like I say, I shot into the pantry as if I'd been shot with a gun.
Afterwards they built us air-raid shelters. We didn't have Anderson ones because the water main went down the middle of the garden. Some man who thought a lot of himself - he did - and he got a shelter full of water. We had brick ones - brick with a re-inforced concrete roof - and an escape hatch. You made your own door and it was plonked right by the house. If anything had fell on it we'd have been squished flat. Of course it was double brick and the escape hatch was this cast-iron square, bolted through. So you'd got to make sure that the bolt was regularly oiled or you'd be stuck.
Next door was a grocery and post office shop. A lady and her daughter owned it, and her sister lived with them. Well, they hadn't got a shelter - they were supposed to go in the cellar but they didn't like the idea of that.
Their yard was lower than ours, so my dad cut part of the wall away and he built some steps up and over to our side, and they used to pop over and into the shelter. We thoroughly encouraged it because, owning a grocery shop, they always brought a flask of coffee and some biscuits...

[This story was submitted to the People's War site by Wolverhampton Libraries on behalf of Jean Davis and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions]

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Re: Bombs & Shelters

Posted on: 16 March 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Jean

Whilst I found your story of interest I have to say that Germany didn't drop any bombs on Britain before war was declared. The Sunday before Britain and France declared war on Germany was the 27th of September. This was five days before Hitler invaded Poland, believing that neither Britain nor France would go to war.

The first German air raid on Britain was on 16 October 1939, when British war ships were bombed in the Firth of Forth.

Regards,

Peter

 

Message 2 - Re: Bombs & Shelters

Posted on: 31 October 2005 by brucefirth

You must have meant 28th August.
The Germans entered Poland and Britain declared war on Germany ON 3RD SEPTEMBER 1939.

 

Message 3 - Re: Bombs & Shelters

Posted on: 31 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

You are quite right. A slip on my part. The poster had said "I remember the first bomb that they dropped. It was one Sunday. It was just before the war had been declared."

That would be seven days before Sunday, 3st September, the 27th of August (or, as I said, five days before Hitler invaded Poland). I typed 'September' instead of 'August'.

My main point was that Germany did not bomb Britain before war was declared.

Regards,
Peter

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Black Country Category
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