Air Raid Shelters and the Blackout – Memories by GS

Although during the war two or three of those houses down the bottom were bombed, badly blitzed, and my father who used to be in the ARP in the second world war, and I remember him telling me it was terrible that he had to go down there and pull out the dead and all that sort of thing, which is not a very nice experience.  I always remember they had a big air raid shelter at the bottom of the cul-de-sac where you could go into but I expect that quite a few roads in them days had air raid shelters in the road, but we actually had one in the garden which was partially underground and I can remember at the latter end of the war, it would have been my first memory of life, was being taken down into that air raid shelter during air raids and having to stay down there until the all clear was given.

I can remember because my parents had an evacuee staying there at the time and another place where we used to have to go apart from the air raid shelter was they either rushed you under the table, and they was only like cottages, and you had like a table in the front room and you either went under the table or in the coal cellar.  I don’t think it was being used as a coal cellar and it was under the stair case and you had a back passageway which led out to the back yard and a lot of people kept the coal out the back and didn’t use them as an air raid shelter and used them as a cupboard and I can also vaguely remember being taken into that underneath the stairs with the evacuee and my sister who’s a little bit older than me, obviously because if we was hit by a bomb the staircase would be like one of the last things to collapse and like a table and you had some sort of means of protection.

No, I don’t ever remember being frightened, I do remember one day, when I was in the air raid shelter in the garden I could have only been about three or just over three, I can remember I must have wandered up out of the air raid shelter and into the back garden and a neighbour from down the road who was a chap called Joe Burns, I wouldn’t have known that at this age, I was told this later by my parents, and he picked me up and rushed me into the house and said whatever are you doing out here? And I do seem to recall that wandering out into the garden but I also remember in the blackout that all the curtains were drawn you know and you couldn’t even have a torch or a candle going when there was an air raid on yes I do remember that part of the war.