This story was submitted to the People's War site by Shankill Library on behalf of
Mrs Maxine McConaghy, nee Patton, and has been added to the site with her permission.
I was only eight when the war ended so my memories of it are limited.
Brought up near the Parliament Buildings at Knock we had very nice metal gates at the end of the drive. These were taken by the government to be made into munitions.
We had a large, metal dining-room table, bought to serve as a shelter during bombing raids. I disliked the weird sound of the siren which signalled an imminent raid.
At night, windows had to have black-out curtains or curtain linings. If any light at all showed, a warden would call at the door and tell you about it.
All sorts of things were in short supply, so there were ration books and coupons for sweets, clothing etc. My mother used to save the 'sweet coupons' so that we could have sweets to take on holidays with us. When fresh bananas became available, at the end of the war, you went to the shop with your ration book to receive the number to which you were entitled. A newspaper told how one child, unused to bananas, ate three at once and died as a result. During the war there were dried bananas and powdered eggs. Fresh eggs, when available, were stored in vats in something called waterglass.
We had gas masks to take to school with us.
My father was an estate agent with his office in a tall building in High Street, very close to the Albert Clock. Towards the end of the war the building received a direct hit. The building was ruined. Everything was so hot that it was three weeks before one safe could be opened and five before the second safe could be opened. Inside the papers were destroyed. The business had to be built up again by what my father and his office manager could remember of the clients concerned.
Campbell College, situated close behind our house, was evacuated to the Northern Counties Hotel in Portrush and the school was used as a Military Hospital. One night a prisoner escaped and the next morning his prints were found in the snow in our back garden.
Children were issued with small bottles of orange juice. Ours were stored on the wooden floor of a small spare bedroom. I remember that, once, a bottle fermented and exploded.