People who lived in 40s talk about their experiences and memories

Residents at Sandholme Fold Care Home, Hipperholme, talk about their 1940's memories
Residents at Sandholme Fold Care Home, Hipperholme, talk about their 1940's memories

From Calderdale to Gloucestershire, people growing up in the 1940’s have been speaking about their war memories and how life changed after 1945.

Speaking about the period at Sandholme Fold Care Home, Hipperholme, Don French, 86, was 13-years-old during the war and lived in York.

Residents at Lands House, Rastrick, talk about their 1940's memories

Residents at Lands House, Rastrick, talk about their 1940's memories

He talked about how there was only one male teacher and the rest were female at his grammar school when the war started.

“I remember helping to put up the air raid shelter and how we had to dig it into the ground. There was one time I had to grab my little sister Barbara and we waited in the shelter for quite some time.

“The German planes used to drop flares so they could see where they wanted to bomb.

“As we were out of the city you didn’t realise how much damaged had been done until I rode into town on my bike and saw how bad the railway was damaged.”

Pat Brown was 11-years-old during the war and about to start grammar school in Birmingham when she was evacuated to Gloucestershire.

“I was evacuated and I can remember having all my belongings, sandwiches and gas mask with me as I waited for the train.

“You would see soldiers in blue uniforms during and after the war and they wore that colour as they had some sort of injury like if they had lost an arm or part of their body.

“I can remember a lot of bombs being dropped in Coventry and the bombers had a really good go at the city.

“The people I stayed with very nice and we lived in a little house. Everybody at that time were so kind and looking back it was an interesting time.”

Lesley Howden born in 1932, and lived in Sowerby during the 1940s can recall a time when Winston Churchill visited the area.

“We all knew that something was going on and on the radio they were trying to stop the war but I was told it was too late.

“It was a time of rationing and I can remember going into the cellar and seeing everything measured out in ounces and things stocked up such as dried eggs which were used for cooking.

“We had to use these thick black curtains and sheets to cover the windows when the sirens went of and the wardens would go around checking that no light could be seen form your house.”

Residents at Lands House, Rastrick, spoke about their experiences in the 1940 as they were growing up in Huddersfield.

Mavis Harpin spent her childhood in Folly Hall, Huddersfield, said there wasn’t much damaged caused by the bombs but can remember one time when they had to take cover.

“One night a neighbour came rushing across and because we used to sleep through most things we had to be woken and ran to the air raid shelter across the road.

“We found out that a bomb had dropped but it didn’t cause a lot of damage as it landed in the road.

“Sweets were rationed at the time and I think our sweet lady got a bit annoyed as we used to spend so long deciding what we wanted.

“In the 1940s it was a time when your father’s word was the law. There were no mobile phones so if you wanted to do something you had to ask your father if you could make arrangements.

“Everyone used to help each other and all the children used to play together.

“I think everyone was a lot fitter as well because you had to walk everywhere.”

Irene Speers was a teenager during the 1940s and lived in Lindley, Huddersfield, during the 1940’s and could remember what people used to do in their spare time.

“Dancing was very popular to keep us entertained and there was always a lot of excitement when a big band was playing at clubs.

“There used to be a lot on the radio and the newspapers covered as much as the could about what was happening even though there was not a lot of bomb raids in the area.

“The closest bombs that hit would have been Bradford and I can recall Lingards being badly damaged.

“Although there was a war going on we still had some good times and had fun with the soldiers.”

From Elm Royd Care Home, on Wood Bottom Lane, Brighouse, Arthur Webster had just started Rastrick Grammar school in 1939 and can remember what Brighouse was like during the war years.

“At school we designed posters for a competition with air force, spit fire battles and ships and they were judged by the people of the town.

“There used to posters on the side of buses and dedicated magazines were produced for the war effort.

“Buses had dark blue windows to limit the light coming from them and all the windows of the houses were blacked out.

“I can remember the air raid warden and fire officers going around making sure that no houses could be seen in the dark and to prevent any fires.”