World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Eva Woods 

My Memories of the Sheffield Blitz

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Eve Woods
Location of story: Sheffield, Yorkshire
Background to story: Civilian


My Memories of the Sheffield Blitz

Eva Woods
I was seven years old at the time of the Sheffield blitz in 1940, but I remember the events of that time as though it were only yesterday. I can only think that it was such a frightening time and we were all so scared. I lived at that time with my family on the Parson's Cross estate, we had just moved there from Shiregreen, into a brand new council house. We lived next door to a family who I remember kept ducks in the house, enough said!. I had Mam and Dad, four sisters and three brothers, so there was quite a tribe of us.

At that time there was housing called the Wincobank huts. They really were huts so they must have been dreadful places. We were re-housed on the new estate, consequently it was in danger of becoming another slum. We were there 18 months and then did an exchange back to Shiregreen and stayed there till Mam and Dad died.

We had a brand new Anderson shelter, but never went in it, I think it was full of cement that the builders had left. When the sirens went, we all packed in under the stairs, I understand that it was the safest place. It would be the only thing left standing, in theory! On one of the nights the bombers came, we were under the table, opposite the fireplace when the blast brought down the soot from the chimney. We all looked like chimney sweeps.

A bomb was dropped across the road from us. Fortunately, the place was still in the process of being built. It sustained a direct hit, but no casualties. At the back of the house at that time were fields which were subsequently built on. The drains must have been at the back and a bomb was dropped on the water main, causing a large crater and filling up with water. My Father was standing at the door at the time and the blast blew off its hinges; luckily he was not hurt. My brothers and their friends pulled to pieces an old lorry and built a raft to sail on the crater, needless to say I did not try it. I can't remember if they were punished or not.

There must have been petrol, as my brother stupidly put a match to it and it flared up in his face. He was very lucky not to be scarred for life.
It was said, I don't know how true it is, that the flash of the trams that ran at that time, showed the bombers the way to Sheffield. The steel works must have been their intended target, we got the bombs that didn’t get there. I would still get the feeling of dread if I heard the sound of the siren today.
My Dad was out of work during the Thirties and the coming of war found him a job in the ARP as a warden. He went on to work at the Hadfields steel works until he retired. It seems a sad indictment that there has to be a war to create jobs.