WW II, a British focus  



Memories of Mr Colin Adams

     When war broke out people thought it would only last a short time. Arrangements were made to evacuate children to safer areas, as Liverpool would be a target because of the docks. My mother however would not let my brother and I go. Schools were closed and the front rooms of houses were used to teach children who stayed behind.
      We were all allocated gas masks, children's were shaped like Mickey Mouse. When the Air Raid siren's went we put them on and went into the Air Raid shelters these were built down the side of streets, some people used the basements of their houses. My father was too old for active service so he was in the Home Guard. His duty was to patrol the streets throughout the Air raids, helping and comforting people, also if any bombs landed in our area they would help the emergency services. We were not allowed lighting, all streetlights were out. Buses and Tram lights had covers to keep the beam to minimum, houses had dark blinds to all windows which had to be drawn before inside lights were switched on.
Our first house in Wavertree was damaged and we moved to Mossley Hill, instead of an outside shelter we had a Morrison shelter inside were most our nights were spent. All metal things were taken away to be used for ammunition. Rationing was introduced so everybody received the same amount because you never knew if the cargo's would get through safely.
      I had six Uncles in the war one was killed and the other five returned home. Uncle Fred was lost for quite sometime but was found in a Mental Hospital suffering from Shell Shock. When the soldiers were coming home we would line the railway tracks to greet them, family and neighbours would share their rations to make sure they were fead before returning to the battlefields.

     Peterborough and surrounding area's never saw so much damage as some of the big towns.
     Just a few things I can remember.
     Early years of 1940 I can remember going to school at the north side of Thorney. My teachers in those days were Miss Dean lower class and Miss Williams the higher class. I remember Miss Williams more being both of us had the same birthday.       During these months I can remember standing in the playground and watching the planes going over head, I now know that they were off to Arnhem but at the time I thought they were pretty pictures in the sky.
      Then later on in the war Germany sent pilot less planes over to crash on our docks at such places as Kings Lynn, they were called Duddlebugs as they flew over at night-time making a very loud noise. My parents would tell us to get under the table just in case one came down. We were lucky. My dad would say "There alright as the engine is still running" because if the engine stopped you knew they were coming down.
      We also spent many nights in the safety of the Air raid shelter. We would try to get some sleep, but it was mostly too noisy.
      I can only remember having to hide in the Air raid shelter at school a few times, because Hitler sent his aircraft's over during dark hours. By the way after the war our Air raid shelter was turned into a cycle store, while at school and for the tools we used to cultivate the garden we had.
      There was a Prisoner of War Camp behind our playing fields at the Duke of Bedford School Thorney the prisoners worked on the land during the day, but went home at night. They used to wear khaki uniforms with a diamond patch on their trousers and a round one on their tunic blouse.
      We had ration books, which made sure we got our fair share of such things as sweets, meat, sugar and tea etc.
      My father being a farm worker was entitled to some things which was grown on the farm.
     He also kept chickens, and was made to keep three pigs. When they looked old enough they would be sent off to be killed, we got one pig back to eat and the other two were sent to the ministry of food to help poorer people.
      One of my uncles was killed in the North Africa campaign. I think the nicest thing that happened to us was when ration books stopped and we were able to get such things as oranges, bananas, and many other things that children of today take for granted.
      As I said at the beginning we never saw the destruction that the big towns did but we had many a goods night sleep, we were always thankful to my dad, we thought he won the war when he was in the Home guard. I know different now but we all think our dad's are heroes, so they are.

Submitted by Sarah Pacey