World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                          Anne Parker 

A child's 'minutes' of the war.

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Anne Rose Parker
Location of story: Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire and Hagley, Worcestershire.
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 Anne Rose Parker.

My name is Ann Parker and I was born on May the First, 1939. I lived in a cottage that was comprised of two small cottages made into one; each was a one up and one down. I remember when we could hear the ‘buzz bombs’, my mother would say, “Tell me if that stops.” That was because when they stopped, they dropped. We had a shelter over the bed, which we eventually didn’t use, we used the kitchen table instead. My father moved to Sutton-on-Sea at the beginning of the war when he went into the army. I don’t know why he did this; he probably thought it was the right thing.

My mother would wait for the air raid warnings, and then she would go down the garden path and over the fence to the lady next door, she was an old lady called Mrs. Sims. She would see that Mrs Sims was alright, then she’d come back to us.

We all had gas masks, and I had a Mickey Mouse one. My younger brother, who was born towards the end of the war, had a big glass ball, which we used to put him in, but it became very hot and there was a lot of condensation inside, so I don’t think it worked very well. It was like a bubble.

My swimming costume – we couldn’t get them during the war, so my mother knitted it and it would get very wet and very heavy, and would stretch and touch the ground.

We also rescued a beaver and we looked after it for weeks. It had been covered in oil; when we let it go, the farmer shot it, which was a bit upsetting for us. Also, an old lady (this must have been towards the end of the war) gave me a banana. She watched me eat it; I didn’t know how to open it. She asked me if I liked it and I said yes, so she gave me another and watched me eat that. I didn’t like the banana in the first place.

My mother used to keep rabbits in a barn and they all got our one night and she got them all back except one, which was quite good because there were a lot of them. She caught them in a trap.

On the beach, we used to find rolls of silver paper, which would be used for decoration, and there were also plastic dolls on the beach, but we weren’t allowed to pick them up because there were bombs in them. There was a lot of barbed wire on the beach, and big puddles. I remember putting my foot in a puddle because there was a huge crab in there. I pulled away when it came at me, and I cut my foot. I was taken to a cabin and I waited for my mother to pick me up. She took me to a doctor’s surgery and the doctor put stitches in. I’ve still got the scar on my foot now.

My brother helped a friend on the beach, make a raft, and when they made the raft, the idea was to float it on the sea, but they went down in the water and my brother got himself soaking wet and he hadn’t got a change of clothes.

We had a Sunday School outing one time, and we went on a cart. My mother would walk behind the cart with my baby brother. I remember the cart stopping and letting her get in; we would go to a field. It seemed a long way but it probably wasn’t.

At the end of the war, I used to think that soldiers would be marching past the king, but that was just a child’s imagination. I know we had a party at the end of the war, a street party, and we all had tickets for the food. I’d never seen as much food. The boys kept jumping the queue; they kept going back for more tickets. We had one set of tickets; I don’t know how many they managed to get.

We went on an outing after the war. I think it was called the “girls’ friends’” club; we went with a lady from the party and we missed the bus. We bought these two marzipan sweets (which were a luxury) and we ate them.

There was an aeroplane in the square at Sutton-on-Sea. It must have either crashed there, or someone had put it there for everyone to see.

My mother and father met in Skegness, and after they married, the moved to Wales, then to Sutton-on-Sea. After the war, he remained in the army for a while and we went to Hagley in Worcestershire. My father worked for Lord Cobham who lived in Hagley Hall. Lord Cobhan wasn’t there at the time, he was in New Zealand, but his mother and sister were there. I went to school in Hagley and my younger sister was born there.

At the end of the war, I remember planes going over the beach and thousands of parachutes dropping. My mother told me that they would shed any disused bombs into the sea too.