More Children of World War 2 and their Memories

In General by GlynLeave a Comment

So happy that my World War 2 / 1940s Project is continuing to grow as word is spreading far and wide.

Recently I was fortunate to meet and photograph some more folks who were children during War time so I thought I’d share them below along with just a snippet of what they said about life during that time…

WW2 Billeted

Left: Hazel

Hazel was just 4 years of age when war broke out in 1939 …“I remember little of the first couple of years but many children were evacuated from London.  I know that some families chose to move away from anywhere near London, to the West Country as danger of bombing grew.  We ended up on a farm in Devon for a couple of months or so and it was at that time that I fell in love with country living and thoroughly enjoyed feeding sheep and chickens.  My mother used to take me to school, with me sitting on a cushion on the carrier of her bicycle (I still have the bike). Back home again, changes took place. My brother and I walked a mile to school carrying gas masks in a cardboard box round our neck.  Periodically at school, we had to put them on and queue up to have our teacher test the efficiency of them. Some children had gas masks with a Micky Mouse face. Brick air raid shelters were a familiar sight in the road, but little by little, individual homes acquired either an Anderson shelter or a Morrison one.  The Anderson was built in gardens and the Morrison was a sturdy cast iron one with a heavy duty table top to withstand falling masonry, and openwork mesh sides to afford access in and out. We had the latter shelter which replaced the dining room table.

Night time was common for bombs to fall and I can recall that one night, my mother, in the absence of my father who had been called up to join the Royal Navy, went out of the front door in bare feet, anxious to extinguish a fire in the front garden with a pail of water, as the result of an incendiary bomb fallen from a bomber which had got past the silver barrage balloons which were a familiar sight.  At night, during the Blitz, we all slept under the table shelter and in case we got trapped as the result of a bomb, we kept supplies of tinned food there, but I am happy to say, we never had to resort to them.”

Middle: Details to follow
Right: Annelise

Annelise Waugh Ellis, a child during World War 2 whom I photographed yesterday for the book ‘Children the way we weren’t  recounted her memories of events during that time… My experiences of living through the Second World War with its fears, the losses of lives and of loved ones, losses of properties, the tears and the heart-aches, made me become a pacifist forever.

I was born in 1935 in the Eastern part of Germany, where my father was working at the time as reviser (auditor) at a bank. Germany in the nineteen thirties, was trying to recover from the ashes left by the First World War and was trying to recover its national pride and identity. As we know Pride and Arrogance are the greatest enemies of Peace. Germany at that time, was also struggling with unemployment, poverty and the influx of immigration from the East. People were arriving there who were being persecuted in other countries and were desperately trying to find a new home in Germany. This created a xenophobia, mistrust and hatred towards foreigners; and we all know the consequences of that.

It was also a time when some politicians were rising to power on false promises and leading vulnerable people astray.
My father was called up in 1943 to fight on the Russian Front and was killed a few weeks later. He was only 34 years old and left my mother a young widow with two daughters (5 and 7 years old) and the wounds of his loss never healed.

WW2 Billeted

Left: Jim

Jim was just a child aged 7 when War broke out in 1939. Living just outside of Cardiff, unlike many other children, Jim wasn’t billeted away to live with strangers away from bombings but stayed at home. He told me how as a child it was actually quite exciting and remembers watching planes overhead in dogfights. In the mornings following the night time bombing raids, he and his friends would clamber over the rubble to collect exploded metal bomb fragments. He also remembered the dreaded incendiary bombs that would fall from the sky and upon landing would set alight and cause horrendous fires and devastation.

Right: Carol

Carol was just 7 years of age and living in Wales at the start of World War 2 in 1939. Because of the increasing bombing raids she, along with other children was billeted away from Cardiff to live in North Wales with people she didn’t know. We hear so many stories of what life was like for children in this time some good, some not so good as it was for Carol. She explained how the family she lived with had a daughter who made it known that she didn’t like Carol and was jealous of her long black hair which was duly cut short. Talking briefly with her about her War Time Experiences as a child, even now some 80 years later, I could clearly see from how she seemed to go a little distant that it had affected her. I guess some wounds never heal; they just get covered up.

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If you know of anyone that was either a child during World War 2 or maybe even served during this time in history, and you think they’d be happy to photographed, I’d love to hear from you, so please do drop me an email to glyn@glyndewis.com

Cheers
Glyn

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