This is my mum's account (Mary Yates -nee Palmer) of what happened after she returned from being evacuated in North Wales. After returning from Canarfon, we lived at number 1 Whitefield Road with my gran and grandfather, mam and my Auntie Matt who was serving in the ATS. I went to school at Queens Road infants and I can remember they gave us gas masks and we did safety drills. We had a school caretaker who kept a dead snake in a bottle which we were allowed to see if we were good! I don't think that would be allowed today. When the blitz began we didn't go to the shelter, I was under the stairs in a cupboard with gran and Auntie Matt was asleep upstairs right under the window. A landmine went off in Breck Road and the blast from this blew out our windows and jammed the door of the under stairs cupboard shut. Amazingly Auntie Matt got covered in glass but was unscathed, however gran and I were trapped in the cupboard. Gran was screaming her head off and we were covered in dust and soot. The next thing I knew we were taken to a shelter which was by the local dairy; we were surrounded by people with soot blackened faces. They gave us jugs of fresh milk and I remember this tasted lovely, even though it had specks of soot floating in it. The house was deemed to be unfit to live in, so we all had to move to Uncle Albert's house at 3 Druid Street. This was a three storey house which was very narrow and with the additional occupants, very cramped and overcrowded. Auntie Matt had to sleep in the attic when she was home on leave and there was a hook in the ceiling; it was said that somebody had hanged themselves from it. She swore that while she was in bed someone or something tried to pull the bedclothes off her, after that no-one would go into the attic alone. Soon after we were allocated a house in the same street; as it was just three doors away we didn't need a handcart to move. It was in this house that I was to find out the reason why mam had been away to Southport; she brought home my twin sisters Peggy and Joan. This was around October of 1941.Mam was separated from my dad and the girls had a different father to me but he didn't marry mam. The air raids continued on a regular basis and we had to get organised every night for the shelters which had been built in the middle of the street. Trouble was they were dirty, smelly and damp. Some of them had bunks and it was always a rush to try and get into one of those. Once you got in, you had to wait then for the all clear, but what I hated the most was the sound of the bombs; the whistley whine which stopped just before the bomb hit and then you prayed then that it wasn't going to land on you. To be honest the shelters offered very little in the way of protection and virtually no chance of surviving a direct hit. I think this was why people refused to use them and took their chances in their own homes.



By PaulaPage PaulaPage

This story was added on 25th February 2011

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