World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                     Ernest Stannard

Working at Beighton Colliery

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ernest Stannard
Location of story: Beighton, near Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Norman Wigley of the BBC Radio Sheffield Action Desk on behalf of Ernest Stannard.

During the war, I was working at Beighton Colliery (later called Brookhouse Colliery). I worked underground and had been there since I left school at age 15.

Every month, everybody who had been working hard got bars of chocolate as a bonus. One day we had put our chocolate in our coats that were left in the ventilation road, and when we came back to collect them later, somebody had stolen all the chocolate. We never found out who did it.

On the night of the first air raid we were kept underground until the raid was over, but after that first raid, we were let out as normal. One night we were walking home to Beighton past the coke ovens when a gas flame from the ovens shot into the air, and we went as quick as we could, as enemy aircraft would see this for miles – but nothing happened.
At home I slept in an attic with my four brothers, and we always had a window open. One night there was an almighty explosion and we all ran to the cellar, and had just got there when there was a second explosion. These, we later heard, were two land mines that had landed on Bedgrave, just outside the village.

Another day, our local anti-aircraft guns opened up on a German aircraft, just as we were passing, and he jettisoned his bombs nearby.

My sister was visiting towards the end of the war from Bournemouth. One day we heard a noise we had not heard before, and my sister immediately recognised it as a ‘doodle-bug’. She said we should take cover but we all said we weren’t going to bother. This was the only V1 to land in this part of the world and it exploded between Killamarsh and Halfway on colliery spoil land.