World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Rosalie Weir

A Change Of Clothes

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Rosalie Weir, Edna Yull (deceased, mum) and Blanche Croft (nee Yull, baby sister).
Location of story: Kingston-upon-Hull
Background to story: Civilian


 

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Rosalie Weir.
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At the time, I was 11 years old and was living with my parents and six brothers and sisters. We lived in a corner council house and our back garden was attached to the other gardens on the corner.

One summer’s night, either in 1940 or 41 (I’m not sure which), the usual heavy raids began and this time it was our turn. A land mine had dug itself into our back garden and had not exploded. We, as a family were moved to a safe house further back on the estate until the mine was made safe.

The next morning, mum told me I had to take my baby sister, Blanche (only a few months old), for a walk. I was instructed to go down 25th Avenue as far as the policeman (the area was cordoned off), say hello, then come back slowly. I didn’t ask why, I just did it. Mum and I, with Blanche in the pram set off to the top of 25th Avenue (we lived at the bottom). I did as I was told by walking slowly down the avenue and back. Then Mum appeared with two bags; she had hopped and run down all the back gardens until she was home again, and unlocked the back door. Her baby needed a change of clothes and nappies. After collecting them, she returned by the same means, undetected by the policeman who could see only the fronts of the houses.

I can remember, at the age of 11 years, sitting on a stone school staircase during the air raids. I didn’t actually attend school for a while because, if the raids lasted for more than an hour during the night, we didn’t have to attend school the next day. It was no holiday however, we were not allowed to go out of sight of home.

It is known that the city of Kingston-upon-Hull had more tonnage of bombs per square mile than any other city in England, but it was only ever mentioned as an “east coast town”. We only hear of London and Coventry.

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The Party

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Rosalie Weir
Location of story: Kingston-upon-Hull
Background to story: Civilian

 

It was a Red Letter day and my sister Jean and I were being allowed to go to a Birthday party. It was 20 minutes’ walk from home, and as we weren’t allowed out of sight of home because of the air raids, this was an EVENT! My first proper party. Because of the situation, it was held between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., so we could get home safely.

Recently there had been a direct hit on a Brick Shelter and everyone was killed. They were common on the main streets. Dad, who was a full time warden, gave instructions to come straight back home and NOT to go to the Brick Shelters.

After the party, holding my sister’s hand, I set off home, but the sirens sounded. Remembering Dad’s words, we hurried on, only to be stopped by a warden and taken into the Brick Shelter. Fortunately, there was a door at each end. Yes, that’s what we did, left by the door at the other end. In all, we met three wardens and went into three Brick Shelters, and in all cases, out of the door at the other end. We just remembered Dad’s words and the fact that he meant what he said.

On reaching home, my sister and I were in real trouble for walking the streets during a raid. Never again were we allowed out of sight and calling distance. But we were only doing what we were told.

It is known that the city of Kingston-upon-Hull had more tonnage of bombs per square mile than any other city in England, but it was only ever mentioned as an “east coast town”. We only hear of London and Coventry.

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