Every day was a lucky escape, but one time Nan was at her Dad’s allotment with her future husband Ernest. They heard a Doodlebug overhead and quickly ran to a shelter. They just managed to shut the door and were blown down the stairs but unhurt. The nearby shelter was hit and the occupants not so lucky.

Another time Nan’s friend, June, popped round and asked if she wanted to go to the library. Daisy said she couldn’t as she was cutting lamb’s tongues for dinner. The next minute the windows in the house were shattered as the library they were planning to visit was hit by a rocket. One of her friends was killed; identified by the bottom of her jaw, the only part of her ever found.

The third lucky escape came when she was working in a factory when another doddle-bug hit. She managed to get into the shelter with workmates, but her clothes were ripped and her legs cut and they had to be dug out of the rubble. She walked dazed down the street where her grateful mum took her home, but she should have reported to the medical staff that arrived on site with an ambulance or to the ARP. The Air Raid Patrol wardens were the ones that went round the streets during black-outs telling people to turn out their lights so the bombers couldn’t target them. They also reported bomb damage and re-united families. In the morning after the attack there was a knock at their door from the ARP saying they had searched all night for my Nan but she couldn’t be found. That was because she was asleep in bed upstairs!

You had looters all the time. Even when the library was bombed. Next door was a paper shop. While they were digging in the library, they were in the shop pinching the cigarettes. If you got caught you went to prison. People did it ‘cos they were that way inclined.
When we lived in the City we had an underground shelter on the corner of Ironmonger Row and Lever Street, for 100 or more. Because the bombing was so fierce there, an Anderson wouldn’t have stood it. It really wouldn’t. When the bombs missed the City, we were the next in line for it. We had a basement and for the first few nights of the bombing we stayed there. One night my Dad said ‘I think we’ll use the shelter tonight’ and we went to the underground shelter. Where my Mum would have been sitting (in the basement) there was a lump of glass on her chair. If she had been sitting there, that would have stabbed her. It was just one of those things. It blew the windows completely out. You just patched them up, you couldn’t replace them. I mean the plaster came down from the wall, you could see through the rooms. They were badly damaged, you couldn’t live in them. They used to bring round a tea urn in the shelter. We’d all have a cup of tea and someone would start up a sing-song when the raid was on. We had buckets curtained off where you went a wee and that.

ANDERSON SHELTERS - The Anderson shelter was named after Sir John Anderson, then Lord Privy Seal with special responsibility for preparing air-raid precautions before the outbreak of World War II. They were designed to accommodate up to six people. They were buried 4ft (1.2 m) deep in the soil and then covered with a minimum of 15 inches of soil above the roof. The earth banks could be planted with vegetables and flowers, that at times could be quite an appealing sight and in this way would become the subject of competitions of the best-planted shelter among householders in the neighbourhood.

Anderson shelters were issued free to all householders who earned less than £250 a year, and those with a higher income were charged £7. 150,000 shelters of this type were distributed from February 1939 to the outbreak of war. During the war a further 2.1 million were erected.

DOODLEBUGS - were self-propelled pilotless aircraft, which when they reached their maximum range would crash and explode. The bit that everyone knew about the doodlebugs was their sound. When that sound changed, you knew the bomb was going to drop and you darted for cover.

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