In 1939, as I played in the streets of Liverpool, an “Echo News” runner came down the street calling out, “War Declared! War Declared!” Some months later the first bomb was dropped about half mile from our house. Out of curiosity my family joined others as we went to look at the damage done.
During the day we could see the British planes called Spitfires attacking the Messerschmitt 109s in the Dogfights over Liverpool. Anti-aircraft guns also engaged shooting at them. The German planes were on reconnaissance taking pictures in order to find the strategic targets to bomb at night, resulting in civilian deaths also.
I still roamed the streets a lot watching from curiosity. But when the air raid sirens sounded I would run home, even through shrapnel and flying debris. The debris was dropping all over the place.
One night Tommy (my brother) and I were blown out of bed caused by a bomb that had exploded one block away. Soot from the chimneys was blown everywhere. We all gathered downstairs with soot-blackened faces and laughed at one another.
My dad was an air raid warden (ARP). He was too old for the service; he was a veteran from World War One. One night he was opening the front door and a blast from a bomb blew the door open onto his hand and dislocated one of his fingers. He demanded, “In the name of Jesus, come back,” as he pulled his dislocated finger back into place. He was quite a religious guy. He was preaching at this time also.
My little sister, Esther, was a preschool child during all these war years. And my brother, Bob, was born during an air raid. Mother lay on the floor downstairs while she was attended by a midwife. Mom slept downstairs while my siblings and I retired to bed. We would watch the flashes of the bombs exploding and anti-aircraft guns firing back at the aircraft.
My older brother, Tommy, was in the YOYLI (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) stationed at Leicestershire. My sister, Jean, was also in the Army (ATS, Auxiliary Territorial Service). They both came home periodically on leave. My other sister, May, was too young for service. She remained in Liverpool throughout the entire bombings and worked as a stenographer at the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool.