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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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From Evacuation To Incendiary

by ageconcernnewcastle

Contributed by 
People in story: 
John Humble
Location of story: 
Newcastle upon Tyne
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
23 April 2004

When the 1939-45 war started, I was a pupil at Middle Street Secondary School. I was evacuated to Carlisle, with the rest of the school. Another boy Billy Kelly and I were boarded out to a family called Armstrong, they lived in Freer Street, they had a son who was in the air force. We shared our school days with the Carlisle children, each going half days, mornings one week/afternoons the next. On our afternoons off we liked to play by the river or help the men to fill sand-bags for the war defence.

I soon tired of this, as I missed home so much. After a few pleading/sad letters home my mother came and took me back to Newcastle. As almost all the Newcastle schools were evacuated, I went to a tiny school on Northumberland Road. If we had an air-raid in the middle of the night we only went to school afternoons. Amazingly we still lived by the rule of “the English stiff upper lip”. The school had a structure to it’s day and we lived in as much fear of our teachers (if we didn’t get our school work correct) as we did of Hitler’s bombs.

The sirens just went on and on this night, the family were just sick of going down to the air-raid shelter in the back lane, so stopped in the house. My father was out on air-raid duty, it was really quite frightening as the heavy drone of the German planes were over our heads, then a spit/spit/spit and a very loud bang. There was a bang banging and yelling to open-up on our back door. I ran down the yard, past a fire burning in the middle of the yard, opened the back door, a man rushed in picked up the ash bin and plonked it on top of the fire. Unknown to me the Germans had dropped a load of incendiary bombs all down our street. Some went into attic roofs causing huge fires, the back lane was burning. Fire engine bells were ringing, it was mayhem in Goldspink Lane a great turmoil. The next day I recovered the fin tail from the incendiary bomb, to show off to the other boys!

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The Blitz Category
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Tyneside and Northumberland Category
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