Saturday, 13 December 2008

WW2 and my Grandad

Joshua is doing a school project on WW2 and he interviewed my Grandad about his experience. I found it fascinating and learnt some new things about him! I have posted the transcript below:

Joshua: How old were you when war was declared?

Grandad: Seven.

Joshua: Where were you when you heard that war had broken out?

Grandad: I was at home with my mum & dad and my two sisters. We had a wireless which ran on an accumulator and a large battery. We were told to be quiet while the Prime Minister broadcast we were at war with Germany.

Joshua: How did you feel when you heard about the war?

Grandad: I didn’t know what to expect. I think I knew mum & dad were worried. All the young men in the village were called up for the forces and all the teachers at school were women as the men had to go in the forces.

Joshua: What parts did your parents play in the war?

Grandad: My father was a coal miner in the Kent mine called “Chiselet”, sunk in the Isle of Thanet (Kent) where we lived. He also was a member of the Home Guard and did night watch guard on the cliffs of Kent. My mum was a house wife who looked after the family feeding and clothing us, she was excellent.

Joshua: How did your life change during the war?

Grandad: My life became very exciting. Air raid sirens sounded every day and at all times. German bombers flew over head on formations of 100 plus, anti aircraft guns blazed away. At night search lights went on to illuminate them. I watched Spitfires shooting some down and fighting with German fighters, planes crashing everywhere, parachutes coming down with English and German pilots attached.

Joshua: What was it like at school before the war?

Grandad: It was very enjoyable and quiet and a pleasure to go to school. I was in the second form after starting school and I was 4 ½. I had good friends and we played marbles and conkers and chased the girls.

Joshua: How did school life change because of the war?

Grandad: School life became a constant upheaval. We had an air raid shelter built in a square under our normal play ground, everyday the sirens sounded and we all filed down steps (about 15-20 steps) and kept in class order sitting on benches and had our lessons down there. There were toilets down there at each end but they were horrible. Sometimes we went home late because they had to wait until the ALL CLEAR siren was sounded.

Joshua: How did your family cope on the rations?

Grandad: Mum was an absolute heroine, she cooked wonderful dinners all the time for us kids, although she went without herself. We all had ration books and mum went to the butchers shop every other day to get what was available. We had a veggie garden and we kept four chickens for eggs and dad would come home with an occasional rabbit and mum would make pies and stews. We also received on a regular basis food parcels from Canada. Mum would buy dripping as well which we enjoyed on toast. We could always go scrumping.

Joshua: Do you have any other memories of the war?

Grandad: My memories were exciting, watching planes shooting each other down. I never realised the hurt it was causing others. We would collect bullets and souvenirs from these planes before the authorities got to them and told us to clear off. I went to school in Canterbury after winning a scholarship and caught the bus every day. One day coming home a Messerschmidt machined gunned a bus and two girls were killed. I once was caught with ten others boys pinching ammunition from an army ammo dump. We all had to go to court and my dad was fined £1-10 shillings … he wasn’t happy! We had a German POW camp in the fields at the back of the village, they used to be taken to work on our farms. They were friendly towards us. D day was exciting for everybody and Victory was a blessing.
Our life at home was an upheaval every evening before sunset, we had to fit blackout frames to our windows so we didn’t show any light. We all slept in a “Morrison Shelter” which was a big solid metal caged table with a mattress and blankets. We ate off the table which was fitted in our kitchen. We lived with candle light and the toilet was out I the yard. We were a lucky family Joshua because we all survived. But my dad was worn out and died before he was 60.


dave bish said...

Fascinating and moving.

I reckon Joshua Green has a future in journalism - and blog interviews.

Sean Green said...

Hi did get some editorial help but he has really enjoyed the process ... I will put forward your sugestion but suspect it won't compete with his aspiration of being a professional snow broader!

dave bish said...

Go for the greater joy I say. Blogging is no match for snowboarding.