World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                       Bob Rowbotham 

School Days during WW2.

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Bob Rowbotham
Location of story: Kimberworth, Rotherham, South Yorkshire.


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Bob Rowbotham.

I was ten years old when the war started. As children, we thought it was great, as all the schools were closed. Later, we started going to school for half an hour to collect homework. The homework was done by us all getting together and doing it quickly; then we’d get the rest of the day off to go and play.

When the air raid shelters had been built, we started school again, taking our gas masks wherever we went. If we’d had an air raid night, the next morning was spent collecting shrapnel, which tore big holes in our pockets. If after an air raid, the ‘all clear’ went after 3 am, we had the following morning off school. It always seemed to go at 2.55 am. I wondered if the headmaster was in charge of the buzzer!!

We watched the barrage balloons go up and if they went high and quickly, we knew there was an air raid due. On our way to school, we would call at the corner shop and buy a halfpenny carrot to eat in place of sweets. All the male teachers had been called up, so we only had women teachers.

As children, we thought the war was a great adventure and we did not realise the dangers. If we went out, we could not get onto a bus after 9 pm unless we had a worker’s badge. I left school at the age of 14, in 1943 and I started work doing a 49 hour week for less than £1.00 (£1. 0s 0d) per week