Bedminster Down – A Child in War

The school was then filled with sounds of the sirens, it was 3.15pm and nearly home time, but that seemed to be lost on everyone as the colour drained from their faces as they made their way to the shelters with their gas masks over their shoulder’s.  The date was Monday November 11th 1940.

“Everything was different before the war, my Dad was home then and he would read me stories at night before I went to bed. Now I go bed with my gas mask as my companion. I can hear the sirens all the time, even when there aren’t any. They have dug a hole in our garden and we have a metal container sticking out of it, which they have no covered with mud. When the sirens go at night we have to hide in there, all of us, my mum, sisters and Granny & Grandad. Mrs Smith across the road sometimes comes as well, as she doesn’t like being on her own. Mummy says it’s ours shelter from the bombs, but if it can keep out the bombs why can’t it keep out the spiders? It’s cold and damp in there and I don’t like it. I miss my Daddy and I think my mum does as well, as I can hear her crying when I am in my bed at night, and she is on her own. Even school is different. I used to go every day but now we all have one day off a week. They say it’s because if the Germans come when we are at school there are not enough shelter to fit us all in. Some of us who used to live near the school used to run home when we heard the sirens but we are not allowed to do that now, they say it’s too dangerous.”

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February 18th 1941

“My best friend John has gone on holiday for a while. My mum says he has gone to Ilfracombe with his mum and his four brothers and sisters. They say that twenty children were in the party that went to the seaside, and they have been evacuated, but I don’t know what that means. Mum says we need to stay here with Granny and Grandad, because she needs to look after them. I don’t have my normal Teacher anymore. The Headmaster, Mr Farrar says that some of the teachers have gone off to do their bit for the Country, a bit like my Dad. Mum says she hasn’t heard from dad, but she thinks he is in across the sea somewhere. On some days we don’t go to school as they have ran out of coal and its cold.”

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“We still have a hole in the school playground where a piece of bomb dropped but I suppose they won’t fill it in until the war is over. I wonder when that will be. Will it be soon and my friend Albert will be able come home from his holiday, and we can play together like we used to before the bombs started dropping. We can run in the fields at the back of Brooklyn Road and play hide-and-seek. We can pick blackberries in the summer and my sister Dorothy can make daisy chains and hang them around her neck like a necklace. Then Daddy will be home from the fighting. He will sit me on his knee and tell me stories about when he was a boy. He will tell me again about how his Daddy went off to fight in the Big War, but he didn’t come home. And as he told me I would look up and see the tear fall from the corner of his eye. I say my prayers every night and I pray for my Daddy to come home”

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Zion Local History Group

One thought on “Bedminster Down – A Child in War

  1. Thats a sad blog, perhaps more so as its pouring down with rain and its cold and damp still in Bedminster Down!! Remind me we need to print these blogs and add them to the museum at Zion… well done Andy another lovely read, even if its sad!

    Liked by 1 person

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