World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                       Evelyn Brammer 

Childhood Memories Of The Blitz Night With My Aunt.

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Evelyn Brammer
Location of story: Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian

 

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Margaret Walker of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Evelyn Brammer.


Childhood Memory of the Blitz Night with my aunt.

I was aged 14 in about 1940/41, and every Thursday, I had to go and stay with my aunt, Mrs Bell, at Graves Park, in Sheffield, because my uncle was in the Home Guard and was out on duty every Thursday, and my aunt didn’t like sleeping on her own.

One particular night, I arrived at my aunt’s as usual, and after tea, we were just doing the washing up, when we heard the sirens going and we could also hear the bombs dropping. My aunt said, “Quick, lets get under the dining room table”. There was a piece of land very close to the side of the house, and at that moment, a bomb landed right there, right next to us. The whole house shook, the noise was terrific, all the windows were blown out and all the pots were shattered, everything was broken. The first thing I said was, “Oh auntie, we needn’t have done all that washing up!” My aunt couldn’t believe that was the first thing I had thought about, and for many, many years, this became a standing joke in the family. Just after that happened though, the air raid warden came rushing to the house, and took us immediately to the air-raid shelter on Derbyshire Lane. We were both shell shocked and disorientated from the experience, as well as covered in dirt and dust. We stayed there all night, the shelter was packed and it was awful. We hadn’t taken anything in with us, but we didn’t care, we were just glad to be alive.

The next day, we came out of the air raid shelter very early in the morning. My uncle came and collected us and wanted to take us back home, or what was left of it. I didn’t want to go back though, I just wanted to go home. I was worried about my mum and dad and was wondering if they had survived the night. My aunt and uncle let me go, and as there was no transport, I set off walking home, all the way from Derbyshire Lane to Darnall. For some reason, I didn’t go the way I should have, which would have been to walk towards Norton, and then Gleadless and across the top towards Darnall. I walked down Derbyshire Lane and headed towards town. I don’t know why I did this, maybe it was shock. Anyway, I walked through High Street, and it was awful. I just didn’t recognise it as High Street anymore. There were empty spaces where shops used to be, like C & A and the Marples. This was the same all the way back to Darnall, but thankfully, when I eventually reached home, there were my mum and dad, who were both O.K. and also very relieved to see me as well.




Pr-BR

 

 

Shoeing A Horse In The Land Army

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Evelyn Brammer
Location of story: Kent


                                                                                                  Evelyn on the way to the blacksmith's

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Margaret Walker of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Evelyn Brammer.

Shoeing a Horse in the Land Army

I went in the Land Army when I was 17 and was sent to Kent, (near Margate). When I was first told where I was going, it felt like I was being sent to the end of the earth. Worse still, after a week working at a Market Garden (just dealing with produce, apple picking, tomatoes etc.), there was a terrible heat wave. I was outside all the time, obviously with the job I was doing, and the next thing, I was struck down with the most terrible heatstroke. I had never been out in the sun like that before, and had a terrible reaction. My arms, legs, face all swelled up and went red, and I looked like the Michelin man. It was very painful, and I had to spend some time in a wheelchair recuperating!

I lived in a hostel with lots of girls. I had chosen this, as the other option for land army girls was to live with the farmer and his family, but I didn’t really fancy that, and thought living in the hostel would be much more fun. It was fun, but the downside of this was that the food was absolutely terrible. The Matron of the hostel used to do everything, including the kitchen, and she was the worst cook you could ever imagine. If there was any mashed potatoes left from the evening before, we would get mashed potato sandwiches for our packing up the next day – cold obviously! We hated them, but we ate them because we were so hungry after working on the land all morning, and there was no other choice. The food in the evening wasn’t any better.
I went from there, to Boston, Wyberton Rectory, which was a hostel, and again to a farm. One day, the farmer asked me to take this huge shire horse to the blacksmith's to be shoed. I had to walk to the village, dragging this horse along the road. I had never handled a horse before, and it was actually quite scary. I was just on my way, when suddenly, a lorry came down the country road, and it was full of soldiers. Well, when they saw me, a young woman with a horse, they all cheered, whistled and waved. The noise really spooked the horse, and it reared up and I don’t know how I controlled it. I had no experience of what to do, and was terrified. Anyway, somehow I managed it and lived to tell the tale, and the photo is of me on that very morning with the horse in question!
The worst job in the W.L.A. was potato picking. This was very hard work because we had to follow a tractor which was unearthing the potatoes. If we fell behind, the farmer wasn't too pleased. Backache became the norm!

Pr-BR