I was nine when it all began, with my Dad hanging up black blinds, and
loud-mouthed 'PUT THAT LIGHT OUT!' wardens knocking up the guilty
showing chinks of light. Noisy sirens, ack-ack guns, Anderson shelters,
search lights, barrage balloons, and German gifts: Aerial doodlebugs
and V2 rockets that killed thousands.
For endless hours we queued for food: Carried clumsy gas masks
everywhere. Admired servicemen in khaki, navy, and blue. And land
girls in their long woollen socks. Street training exercises of Fire
Servicemen, and Home Guard volunteers who helped to gather the dead.
We read of war losses in newspapers, cartoons of Hitler, listened to lies
from Lord Haw Haw on the radio trying to dispirit us, to Churchill's
speeches for encouragement, Tommy Handley's comedies and
Playtime' that lightened our lives.
Trainloads of evacuees were sent from the coasts without their Mums,
while new ones watched and cried, then cared for them.
Ration books for food rarities, clothes, furniture, and petrol.
Free tins of dried milk, and egg powder for children.
Identity cards. Military call-up papers and medicals.
Conscientious objectors and their persecutors.
News of family members and friends killed in action.
Bill posters warned: 'Careless talk costs lives'. Vehicles were
requisitioned, iron railings removed. Pregnant women abandoned
by American soldiers. Women worked like men in factories.
and pubs were full of overworked, war-saddened people.
Then, a single American bomber dropped an atom bomb and brought
it all to an end. Hearts rejoiced in all of Britain's war-torn homes.