Great Yarmouth…A Front Line town
Being a North Sea coastal town, we inhabitants of Yarmouth and Gorleston found ourselves in the Front Line of the action.
My mother’s experience was typical. It
is that I have relied upon for this article.
BEING BOMBED OUT
...She had an involved war alright. Bombed first out of her own home, she went back to live with her parents until bombed
out of there as well (she took this very personally), all three finally ending up in a 3-up/3-down terraced cottage on Trafalgar Road.
She had a great fund of stories from the time. On one occasion they were too late getting to a shelter so the three of them squirmed their way together under the kitchen table. As the bombs fell, grandfather Dawkins began to swear and curse. It was
only later that mum discovered that she had embedded a high heel in one of his ears.
Incidentally this was the same grandfather who cut a hole in , the front of his gas mask so he could still smoke his pipe!
One night the three of them (and by now me) fixed up to share our next door neighbour’s shelter for company. Off went Moaning Minnie, (the siren) and out they rushed. It was not until they got to
the shelter that they realised nan was missing. Mum left me with the neighbour, went to look for her and found her alright. In cocking her leg over the fence she had snagged her knickers and was trapped. With bombs falling, anti-aircraft guns blazing away
there was mum with a pair of scissors performing surgery on nan’s underwear. All the time the old lady kept repeating, “You bugger, Hitler! I’d like to stuff you with onions!”
also a very serious side. Late one afternoon, mum went down to the corner shop to get something for tea. She was joined by an old school friend who husband was also at sea. They chatted, got served and left the shop each for their own homes.
, another air raid and a terrifying explosion as a bomb landed perilously close to us. Next day we found only 300 yards separated us from death. Mum’s friend to whom she had chatted in the store had not been so fortunate. Her shelter had received a direct
hit and she was killed instantly.
A TOUGH GENERATION
Their’s was a tough generation. One of our sons served in the artillery during the
First Gulf War. We lived on egg shells for the few months of the campaign. Dad was away on active service with the RNVR for the best part of SIX YEARS, with mum not even knowing where he was most of the time, yet she coped…”You just got
on and made the most of things!”
Mum did, earning a good living in her own right as an expert clothing machinist at Messrs. Johnsons’s factory and doing bespoke dressmaking from home.
I am not religious
but I do try to remain as stoical as my mother. "Fortune is blind and dispenses good and bad with a total lack of discrimination."
It gives me a great deal of comfort.