World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Margaret Boston 

The Blitz (Sheffield)

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Margaret Boston (nee Scales)
Location of story: Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian Force


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Margaret Boston (nee Scales).

My story begins on the beach at Blackpool where I was on holiday with my parents. We heard that war had been declared and I remember Mum saying, “We are going home at once.”

I was six years old when war was declared and I lived at Parson's Cross, Sheffield. During the height of the Blitz, we slept in an air raid shelter which was situated behind the garage. One night, a particularly bad raid was in progress and one ‘stick’ of bombs fell quite close to our house and it blew the shelter door out.

The following day, my parents, brother and I walked to where the bombs had dropped and I remember so much devastation. One bath was hanging precariously out of a half of a house and shrapnel was all over the place.

My father worked at ‘Toledo’ steel works and one night during his break, he walked over the road to talk to the policeman. He returned to work and soon after, a bomb dropped; the row of houses and the policeman were no more.

Another time, my father came home from work one morning to say he had seen trams bombed with people still inside. It was a very harrowing time.

One of the biggest disasters in Sheffield was Marple’s public house, which had a direct hit, killing a lot of people. My uncle had been there earlier in the evening. I was evacuated to my grandparents in Doncaster, with my cousin who also lived in Sheffield. However, after six months, I was so homesick that I went home. My grandparents also had an evacuee from London.

I had two family war incidents: my father’s cousin was killed, he was in the R.A.F. and was in a Sunderland plane that crashed. My uncle was in the eighth army and was torpedoed twice, but luckily survived.

Anyone who has experienced the Second World War would do anything to avoid another one. Too many people sacrificed their lives for our freedom.