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many moons
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Many Moons Ago !
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War broke out when I was 3 years old and so I can remember most of it.From 1940 the air raid sirens used to ring out every night for over 12 months and frequently after that for a further two years.For over 12 months my father,mother,brother and I spent every night in our air raid shelter.

My father had made this quite snug with bunks for them and a twin bed for us. He'd built a coke burning heater and also a door for the opening.Both Summer and winter it served us pretty well.Every night we heard the heavy German Bombers going over and bombing all around us the west midlands being an industrialised area making war materials to fight the germans with.

Most days we walked a mile and a half to school,come hail,shine,freeze or drizzle.We went in groups and sometimes cut across the local golf course.One afternoon,on this golf course an enemy fighter plane machine gunned us.We all fell to the ground,as we had been told to do,and no one was injured.We were very lucky and also very scared.We were lectured at school after this to try and help with our fears.

Thanks to enemy action we did get three weeks from school.A bomb was dropped in the school playground, but it didn't explode.We were told not to attend school until the bomb had been diffused. Hooray ! We all cried, an extra holiday, it took three weeks to fix the problem.

One morning I left for school and passed the end of one street where one whole row of houses had been flattened by bombing,there was smoke and dust along with air Raid Wardens and police everywhere.Of course us kids were cleared out of the way pretty smartish,so we didn't see too much.

Part of our school journey was alongside the Birmingham to Wolverhampton main road and this used to have numerous convoys of american transports taking equipment to the docks for shipping to europe.We used to call out “Got any gum chum” and they used to throw packets of it to us kids.

One of the big pains as far as I was concerned was wartime rationing.Everywhere you went it was queuing for all foodstuffs.Bread queues,bacon queues,general store queues and butcher queues.

Because I was the oldest and could add up I did most of the queuing.I always had our rationbook to hand so that the necessary coupons could be removed so ensuring that everyone got their fair share

of food.We rarely had any sweets,my mother used to exchange these for sugar from which she used to cook various puddings a favourite was bread pudding.This was around two and a half inches thick,grey with grease and full fruit. Being as heavy as lead it used to go down inside with a thump.Itwas great and I never got tired of it.

Discipline was very strict at this time,we kids were meant to be seen but not heard.We had to be home by nightfall,only allowed out when our homework was completed,and in bed by eight to be up by seven,washup,breakfast and off to school by eight thirty.Saturday was a day off provided all the shopping had been done.Sunday we had to go to sunday school both morning and evening,singing hymns and being preached to.I used to go to my grandads allotment where he had an old single decker bus as his garden shed.He used to give me biscuits and cups of tea.He was a very quiet man but I loved him and was very sad when he died.He was only 67 !

My brother and I were amongst the luckiest in the street because we used to go on holiday for a week. Father had a motorbike and sidecar.Mother sat on the back of father,called a pillion rider,and my brother and I sat in the sidecar.We travelled 16 miles to Northwood just outside Bewdley on the River Severn.Running about in the woods and fishing with dad in the river,we had a great time.

I also had a girl friend.Her name was Beryl Doughty and I thought she was an angel.We used to sit on her back step and go through her “Rupert” books and when we had finished them we would start all over again.She taught me how to kiss her and I liked it so much I used to go for more and more and more.Alas all good things come to an end,she passed her exams and went to Oldbury County High school and I passed mine and went to Holly Lodge Grammar School.We just drifted apart after this.

I was with Beryl for about 3 years and once we had parted I just lost interest in girls.I went with Linda Edwards for a bit but that tailed off I'd had enough of it ! Back to football and cricket,it was more fun.

My World War Two on the Home Front experience.


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