World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                William Neville Bargh 

Fuhrer's Speech

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Fred Bargh (storyteller's father), John Bargh (storyteller's brother), William Neville Bargh (storyteller)
Location of story: Chesterfield, Derbyshire. India, Africa and Germany.
Background to story: Civilian


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Katherine Wood of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of William Neville Bargh.

During the war years my father worked at Markham Engineering Broad Oaks Works, Hollis Lane, Chesterfield. In his spare time he started chimney sweeping, because you had to have them swept every 6 months in case of catching fire, which had fines imposed if they did. On his rounds on the A619 (Chesterfield to Baslow Road) he pickled up a leaflet dropped by German planes in 1940 and brought it home. Now I’m the only one in the family, I still have the original copy, discoloured with age. It is now in a folder kept in the dark.

My father had to give up his engineering job because his rounds got bigger and bigger, he had to get a pony and cart. His rounds took him all over Chesterfield, and they all knew him as Fred Bargh, chimney sweep of Vincent Crescent, Brampton, Chesterfield.

My brother John Bargh joined the Royal Engineers in October 1944 and went to Ripon first, then on to Kirklumsdale, then to Bradford. He should have gone to Germany with his battalion, but he was taken ill and went in to hospital. His battalion went without him and only three came back alive. When he came out of hospital, he went to India (sailing from Southampton), spending most of his time there. He sailed from India to the Gold Coast in West Africa. From there he came back to England and was posted to Germany before coming home to be demmobed with a Demob suit.

I myself saw the sky light up over Sheffield on our way to the shelter, we had one shelter between three houses on our street.
I remember starting school at Rye Flat, Brampton, and having to carry a gas mask everywhere we went. We were told if bombs were dropped to go into a corner of the wall of a building, as these were the strongest parts, however, we did not have to put this procedure into practice. We had a teacher called Mr. Fox. He was my favourite teacher who joined the RAF, and not long after he joined he was killed by a plane's propeller. This has lived with me all my life, I will never forget him. It would be around 1940-1 from memory, although I do not remember the squadron.

I used to go walking, and one day went across the fields with friends onto Westwick Lane which went from Ashgate to Chander Hill on the A619 Chesterfield to Baslow Road, and we saw some Prisoners Of War building a bridge across a ford. We spent some time talking to them; they were very nice guys. They inscribed their P.O.W. name and number in the concrete side, I don’t know whether they are still there or not, I’ve not been down that lane for a long time and don’t live at that side of town.