THE EARLY WAR
When the war started in September 3, 1939, I little knew the path I
would take and how the conflict would change my life.
I was still at school, required to attend until age fourteen. Air
Raid drills were implemented
immediately. Being one of the older
students I had to look after two younger children by getting them to
a safe place during a raid. We were assigned to a home near the
school. Air Raid sirens were the most frightening thing in my early
years, and I was always glad to hear the All Clear. The black out
was awful, with no lights anywhere.
I left school at fourteen, and found a job at a factory. I was like
an office boy, running errands and going where I was needed.
My father joined the Army at the start of the war and went to
France, then Belgium. When the enemy pushed into Holland, Belgium
and France, he ended up at Dunkirk. It was a terrible time, as we
did not know for days if my dad was alive. We did not have phones at
that time, and when you saw the telegram boy coming down the street,
you held your breath. Dad did make it back. The whole of Britain was
put on alert for invasion. We were told church bells would ring to
signal if the enemy were landing. Luckily that never happened.
An influx of soldiers from all the Allied countries started. Our
town of Hamilton was so alive. We had French, Norwegian commandos,
and Canadians. There was a depot of trailers set up for navy
survivors of the war at sea; they were given clothes, food, and so
on, then returned to units.
We did a lot of entertaining, and had back door concerts to raise
money for boxes for the soldiers. All our iron railing disappeared
for the war effort, pots and pans also went. Everyone had to plant
potatoes and vegetables, and rationing began. We would have starved
to death had it not been for the brave men in the conveys. We had
dried eggs and dried milk. Oranges were for the babies as fruit was very scarce. When I came to
Canada after the war I was shocked when my husband bought a whole
box of apples.