World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Turner Margaret (Madge) 

Madge's Blitz Story

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Margaret (Madge) Walker
Location of story: Sheffield and Chelmsford
Background to story: Civilian


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

I’m Margaret Turner, but they call me Madge. I worked on The Moor in Sheffield at the time of the blitz, but later on, they fetched me out of the shop and sent me into a factory. I wasn’t in the forces or anything, I was on war work; making callipers and things, but then they said they didn’t need those any more, so they took me out of there and sent me down to Chelmsford where I worked at Marconi’s, assembling radar. That was the first time I’d seen anything like a television, when I saw that. I was working there for a year, then I got demobbed – ‘released’ they called it.

The Sheffield blitz was terrible; I was back in Sheffield by that time. The night before, I went home and had just got home in time. I lived near my sister. My brother-in-law went out into the back yard, then he came running back in and said, “They’re here; they’re bombing.” They were bombing all of the centre of the city. I went into the shelter with my sister and brother-in-law. I couldn’t get home to my dad and mother. At the time, our cellars had been re-enforced, because they couldn’t get a shelter in our back yard. The neighbours used to come through little doors in the cellar and because ours had been re-enforced, we all met in there.

I’d been at work in the shop, when a policeman came in and said, “Close your shop and get home,” because I was on my own; working alone. He said, “You get off home and don’t waste any more time.” There was a bank opposite where I worked, William Deacon’s Bank where a man and woman were killed, but I didn’t see them. The next morning, after the bombing was over – there was a big house next to me, that was blown down. We were very lucky.

I went down to work, hoping to see someone there, and as I went down Bramall Lane, there was a brewery, and all around was upset. When I arrived at work, all down The Moor, there were cars cut in two. When I went into the shop, I was hoping my manageress would be there. I somehow felt that she would; she lived at Pitsmoor. She did come though. There was a shelter nearby and people had gone into that, but they were just buried and some were buried under the Marples pub.

There was an old lady and her granddaughter buried in the cellar of a house near to us, and the A.R.P.’s heard her crying, so they came and got them out.

There was a bus depot, and the German’s were machine gunning the bus crews who were going in and out of that. My father ran across during a lull and he said that some ambulance men had been blown up.

We were quite lucky considering. There were soldiers billeted in the area, there were two to each house all the way up Shoreham Street and Lansing Road. In Bramall Lane Football Ground was a barrage balloon and the Germans were trying to bomb that.

I was in my twenties at the time and I was worrying about my parents, but anyway, I got back. When I was in Chelmsford, I saw the Doodlebugs. I could see the light from them, but when the engines stopped, that was when they dropped. We saw them frequently in Chelmsford, but then they were replaced by the V2 Rockets.