Children's War (Circa 1941)

Children's War (Circa 1941)

A Poem by JohnL
"

I lived through WW2 and remember it very clearly. Liverpool was heavily bombed, much of the centre flattened. All the memories in this poem are genuine and accurate. Even now, the shortages and hardships of those days are reflected in my abhorence of w

"
These are very real memories. Every incident and experience described is specific and is quite clear in my mind. Sadly, at no time since, have children somewhere in the world been free of the same fears, and worse.


 
In the night
Sleepy eyes;
Bundled into siren suit
Red flannel they said
And a camel dressing gown.
 
Down the stairs
In mum’s arms;
Passed into an iron shelter
Under the earth
With vegetables growing on top.
 
Crump, Crump, Crump!
Mum makes tea:
Quick dash to kitchen.
Skies are lit up
Dad lets me watch the searchlights.
 
Crump, Crump, Crump!
Mobile Ack Ack                 (= anti aircraft gun)
Outside the front door.
Mum takes tea;
Quick dash to gun.
 
Back again,
Looking up
Sees bomber in searchlight;
Shouts at it and at Hitler.
Come in Peg (That’s dad shouting).
 
Thwack! Outside.
Shrapnel
Bedded in the wood
Round the entrance
Thank God she came in.
 
Ern, Doris
And Graham Foulkes
From next door share our shelter.
We all ‘Dig for Victory!’
In their garden.
 
There’s a light;
Dad put it in.
Games – Ludo – cards
Whistling bombs
Bam, Crunch, Crash.
 
That’s no gun.
That’s Bombs,
Not far away either.
Next day, found out;
Swanside Road; Girl from school killed.
 
 
 
Back in bed
When I woke.
Must get the shrapnel after school.
Find plenty on the way;
We do ‘swaps’
 
The gun’s gone
Hope Hitler
Doesn’t bomb it
In tonight’s raid
Knock, Knock, Knock.
 
Only Brian;
Calling for school.
Play Spitfires on the way
But it’s daft.
Spitfires can’t search for shrapnel.
 
School’s in a house.
Too dangerous
All together in one building.
Ashover Avenue.
I like that. Posh.
 
Cut out
Union Jacks
From ‘Flag’ cigarette packets.
Arthur sticks them in a map;                        
Pinholes are getting closer.
 
They’re talking
About ‘Blitz’
I’m seven and I can’t die.
Really, I can’t; I know I can’t.
Joan Saunders did though, in Swanside.
 
At last,
We’ve found
The shrapnel that nearly got mum.
Dad dug it out of the wood
And gave it to me.
 
Alder Hey; ward M2
Three months
In hospital.
Full of blokes in blue suits.
Lowered sweets from the balcony above.
 
Six months
Convalescent,
In Rhyl. Could see fires in Liverpool,
I think, glowing.

Hope Mum, Dad and Arthur are OK.

 

 

Footnote: Arthur was Dad's pal.  He had fought through WW1. and became a sergaent major.  Dad met him in the '30s depression and brought him home to live with us.  He never left and was like a second wonderful father to me.  When dad died, he married mum and just took on all the responsibilities.  I learned so much from these two wonderful men.  One became an Air Raid Warden and the other was in the Home Guard.

Blue suits were what wounded military wore and even the children's hospitals took them in.  They used to send sweets to our ward because they were rationed an kids got very few.

© 2008 JohnL


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Featured Review

Have to thank Fabian for sending this to me. Brought back a lot of memories of my father and his tales of the blitz. He was without his dad - sent off elsewhere - so largely reliant on his mum and sisters making sure he was in the air-raid shelters at the right times. At the time they lived on the outskirts of London and never quite knew what was going to happen next.
Reading this makes me want to ask my father to write something but I'm not sure if he could anymore. As you say, your thoughts are also those that are still prevalant in children in many parts of the world today, and I'm thinking still lucid in your mind - something you will never forget.
Nice writing.

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I learned to read in ours, by candle light, Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. rented for thrippence a week. and just down the street from you!

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Thank you for telling of and for sharing your life experience on site!!
Sallie Bear

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh, wow! The history of war from the seven year old perspective. As a student of history I would like to learn more.



Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Have to thank Fabian for sending this to me. Brought back a lot of memories of my father and his tales of the blitz. He was without his dad - sent off elsewhere - so largely reliant on his mum and sisters making sure he was in the air-raid shelters at the right times. At the time they lived on the outskirts of London and never quite knew what was going to happen next.
Reading this makes me want to ask my father to write something but I'm not sure if he could anymore. As you say, your thoughts are also those that are still prevalant in children in many parts of the world today, and I'm thinking still lucid in your mind - something you will never forget.
Nice writing.

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Deep asnd a very powerful write..Memories that many have forgotten or never lived through..Being Jewish on my mother;s side and from Germany I lost many family members as only a few got out. War destroys not only countries but hearts, minds, souls, past memories and makes no pleasent present ones..I wish all wars would stop..God bless..Valentine

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

For those that know their history, we often learn the stats and think we know (through our imagination and limited empathy) what happened. But you never really know unless you lived through it. This is an excellent account of living during that time. I'm glad you shared it. Great write. Kept me riveted. Going in my favorites.

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is just breathtakingly brilliant and wonderful, I loved the broken feeling of one memory to the next just as you remembered, you wrote..it lends an authentic voice to the piece which is nearly audible, just fab writing!

Posted 16 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 24, 2008

Author

JohnL
JohnL

Wirral Peninsula, United Kingdom



About
I live in England, and love the English countryside, the music of Elgar and Holst which describes it so beautifully and the poetry of John Clare, the 'peasant poet' and Gerard Manley Hopkins, which d.. more..

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