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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Home-Made Bomb and Other Recollections of the War

by Age Concern North Tyneside

Contributed by 
Age Concern North Tyneside
People in story: 
Joyce Haley
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3285849
Contributed on: 
16 November 2004

Home made bomb!

I was 6 years old in September 1939 so my memories of the war years are from a young child’s viewpoint. I remember having time off school while the ground floor classrooms were converted to air-raid shelters, and of me having to carry a gas mask to school with me every day … my baby sister was terrified of her “incubator type gas mask”.
I remember queuing at the Coop for the weekly rations – it always took at least an hour and also of having to take our own newspaper with us if we went out to buy fish and chips!
Playing outside in the blackout was fun as we stayed out past bed-time and couldn’t be found by my mother … it was worth the telling off we got.
The incident which made the most impact on me though occurred a few days after VE day. My father put some coal on the fire unaware that a small explosive charge from the coal mine was among the coal. As he stood talking to his mother there was a loud explosion followed by lots of smoke and soot! My grandmother got such a shock that she flung her arms around my father’s neck and screamed “The Germans have come, the Germans have come!”
It was difficult to get her release her grip and my dad was almost choked. On top of that he suffered for days afterwards as his back and bottom had been peppered with red hot coals! We were all frightened until my father recovered enough to tell us what must have happened. I realise now how worried my grandmother must have been when an invasion was expected …

Joyce Haley

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
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Tyneside and Northumberland Category
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