The Blitz

Hiding from German Bombs

"I never thought about being frightened."

We had black-out curtains. And my dad was what they called an air raid warden. He, and another neighbor, they would walk the streets at night to make sure no lights were showing through the windows, and they would take it turns with different neighbors, so maybe one day a week he was the warden. And they wore their helmets and just walked the streets. If anyone had a light shining they would, you know, go let them know, because when the German planes, if they were running out of fuel or getting close to running out of fuel, they would drop their bombs wherever. And we were in a good area for them to drop them.

We had our windows blown in a couple of times. And then they got to the point where we didn't replace the glass. We would replace it with a black-- like tar paper-- so your house was dark all the time. Needless to say, I keep my house dark now. (Laughs.)

Just the street over from us got-- we called them bread baskets. They were incendiary bombs. And they dropped those, and it hit a street behind us. And the whole street burned down. And that-- I mean that's as close-- we did have windows blown in because of the blast, and everything. But as far as-- I remember one time when I was a kid, our shelter had got water in it because of the river, and we went to our next-door neighbor's house. My dad was air raid warden that night. We had the bombing, and the sirens were going, and my mom grabbed my brother and I, and we ran into the house next door. And all our houses had a cupboard under the stair well. We went in the cupboard with my next-door neighbor, and my brother and I were barefoot, because my mom had woke us up, and the glass from the front door had blown in, and we ran over that barefoot, and neither one of us got a cut. It's weird to this day I think about how we ran on glass and didn't get cut.

We had a German plane come over when I was actually coming home from school, and the air raid warden from the day time, he threw me basically in the gutter and laid over me, because if they saw movement, they would machine gun. So, I don't know if it happened anywhere near me, but that was a possibility, so whoever was, you know, watching for kids and everything at that particular time would take care of whoever was walking.

I never thought about being frightened, because it was-- like I said, I was so young when it started, and after that, it was just a way of life. So if it happened, it happened. If it didn't, it didn't.