World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Shella Hannam 

A Child Living Through the War: Shella Thrush

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Shella Hannam (nee Thrush)
Location of story: Hunslet
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 Shelle Hannan.

A child through the war

Shella Hannam (nee Thrush)

My memories of WWII as a child of 7 years old were the air raid shelters in our playground at Cross Green Lane School, especially when Richmond Hill School was bombed and all the pupils and staff from that school had to be divided into all our classes. The saddest thing for me was to see all my brothers and sisters having to leave home to join the forces during the war. My eldest brother George was shell-shocked at El Alamain and came home a nervous wreck. My other brother met up in Rome, after the Salerno Landings. My two elder sisters where also in the forces, Evelin was on the ack-ack guns at Pontefract and my sister Margaret was in the land army at Boston. Food was short and sweets non-existent, being on rations.

My older brother and I are going back to Salerno, Italy this year to visit the war graves there. He is the only brother I have left now, aged 81 years old.

I wanted to join the forces when I became 18 years old but my mum would not let me. I just wanted to keep our family record of my parents' 10 children complete, but it was not to be. I hope with all my heart that there will never be another war like WW2, that brought so much misery and pain and death to millions. I am so grateful that all my family came home after that 6-year conflict, and I thank God for that.

Extract from Yorkshire Post newspaper:

‘Leeds family’s Service record.’

‘Mrs. H. Thrush of Bridgefield Place, Hunslet, has four sons serving in the Middle East, a daughter, Margaret, aged 18, in the Women’s Land Army, and another daughter, Evelyn, has been discharged from the A.T.S.

Pte. Norman Thrush, aged 22, and Gunner Harry Thrush, aged 20, met and spent a few hours together recently, and Harry came very near to a meeting with his brother, Trooper Edward Thrush, but moved on before the reunion could be effected.

The other son serving abroad is Gunner George Thrush, aged 25, Norman was wounded in North Africa in March, 1943.’