World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                        Pauline Gretton 

A Jelly for Dad

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Pauline Gretton
Location of story: Birmingham
Background to story: Civilian


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Doreen Partridge of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Pauline Gretton.

A Jelly for Dad

When the war broke out in 1939, I was 4 years old and lived in Birmingham with my Father, who had been blinded in the First World War, my mother, 3 brothers and a younger sister.

I can remember the Sirens sounding, my father fumbling with my shoes, helping us to go up the garden to the Air-Raid shelter and telling us it would soon be over.
I can, also remember another time when we were all running to the shelter and in Mom’s panic, she had forgotten about Dad. He was stood on the door step saying, “Flo! Have you forgotten me?”.

One night all the fencing and allotments at the back of the houses were on fire, Mom and Dad got us out and we were hurrying down the Grove, not knowing where to go, but a lady further down the road called for us to go into her shelter.

My mother had to go out with some of the older men to do “Fire Watching”. The people who lived 3 doors away from us kept fowls (chickens) and after a near bomb attack, the fowl were running around the gardens with no heads on.

My three brothers were evacuated, 2 to Derbyshire and 1 to Burton on Trent, we were very upset as the bus took them away. Sadly the 2 boys in Derbyshire were badly treated at the farm where they had been sent, so my mother fetched all three boys home. My dad said we should all stay together.

My saddest memory was when my dad was taken very ill in November 1944. All he wanted was some jelly. He died on 6th December 1944 and my mom still hadn’t been able to get a jelly to give him. That same sad Christmas, a lady who lived in our grove received a food parcel from her husband, and she came to our house and kindly gave us 2 jellies for Christmas tea. Now, every time I make a jelly I think of mom and dad and that sad time.