World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                           Joan Scott 

Joan Scott's war memories

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Joan, Edith, Len, George and Sid Scott
Location of story: Worksop, nr Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Louise Treloar of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Joan Scott.

I lived in Worksop during the war, and I used to hear bombers coming over to bomb Sheffield. My father worked in Manton Pit, so I was left alone at nights. I was only 16. We had a larder with a concrete slab to keep things cold. Part of it was under the steps, and I used to go and sit under the slab. I was terrified. The bombs weren’t dropped around us, I just worried that they would be. We didn’t have any shelters.

The war was still on when I moved up to Sunderland, to a shipyard canteen. I wanted to join the RAF, but my father wouldn’t sign the papers (because I was underage). My oldest sister Edith, left home after my mum died. She went to Aldershot to work in a NAAFI canteen, and we didn’t see her again. She married a soldier.

I went to Welbeck Abbey with a friend. There was a regiment with horses there, and a lot of the soldiers were Scottish. They had a lot of dances, and we used to go there for a change. My friend met a soldier and got married.

We used to go to the Central Hall dance hall at Worksop, where a lot of soldiers used to congregate. They had a proper band, and we did a lot of dancing. We also used to go to Edwinstowe, just outside Worksop. There was a small village hall that I used to cycle to. My father was old-fashioned, and didn’t like me dancing. That was the reason my sister left home. He was just scared of being alone.

I used to help my dad to do the housework. I had to black the grate with ‘Zebo’. Dad did his share – he did the washing. We had a big copper boiler, which we had to fill with coal. There were no hot taps! It was much harder in those days.

I had three brothers in the forces. The oldest, Sid, was in the army – he’s 95 now. He was in India for 5 years, and he got Malaria. He was very ill. Len was in the Navy – he’s 93 now. George was conscripted into the army, and he died 4 years ago. There were 10 children altogether. The youngest three (two sisters and a brother) had to go into an orphanage (Ashley Down) in Bristol. They later commandeered at least 2 orphanages there for soldiers. My mother died in childbirth aged 43. The baby girl lives in Hasland now. We were told never to try to find her, but we tracked her down.