“...I was at home. We’d been on holiday to Colwyn Bay. We came back and where we lived there was a big viaduct. All night trains were going over it which was very unusual, most of them goods trains. My mother said, early in the morning, ‘there’s something happening, there’s something wrong’...I think it was 11 o’clock, we were listening to the wireless, and war was declared. When I next saw, well he was my boyfriend then, he said we were being married and we were living here...Most of us got married.
“(In the early part of the war) it was more boredom than anything. Husbands and boyfriends, a lot were still in England, so we had trips to visit them which was all quite exciting, none of us were really used to going anywhere at that time. I went to places I’d never heard of. Eventually he came home on draft leave, he was based at Woolwich Arsenal and I went back with him. Well he’d booked a room for us and when we got there the woman had let it to somebody for more money . Anyway we got directed to a house and they took me in and he went back to barracks. At the weekend I went home and he went to the middle east...(that was) 1941.
“I was still working in the mill. They wanted firewatchers, we were in a horrible room with no facilities whatsoever. We heard they wanted some people part time for the fire service so three or four of us decided we’d have a go at that, to my mother-in-law’s dismay...We were supposed to go on duty when the sirens went and there was a lad lived over the road, he was a fireman...She said ‘If Derek Brown don’t come for you, you’re not going’...Anyway, Derek came, and we went. Can you imagine anybody being stopped going when they should of done...I think there was only the one incident. They dropped two or three bombs on the house and little chapel at Low Leighton and one at Hayfield, and killed one or two people...
“We kept getting letters from abroad. A bit of a panic if there was a long time between, then another would turn up...He was in Cyprus. He had a very very bad, rough time, which lead to him having a breakdown after the war.
“...Actually he came home a month before (demob) because they had a terrific sort of a raffle and anyone who hadn’t had leave for so long got put in it, and he got drawn out. So he came home and had I think it was three weeks at home, went back for a month, then got demobbed.
“...(he had been away) four years...He was an entirely different person. He went away a happy, carefree lad, came back a man who’d seen horrible things. He couldn’t really relate to going back to work, at the Co-Op. He never really settled...”
“...I was only thirteen when the war started...I can remember it coming through on the wireless, obviously at that age I was rather frightened of what might happen...
“At first it wasn’t real, everybody was complacent. But I can remember going to my fathers one evening...and the sirens went. My father was very reluctant to go in the air raid shelter, but we did go. When it was all over, when we came out, it was a public air raid shelter...a whole row of houses had gone, near St. Ambrose’s church in Salford. When we got back to my father’s house there were two houses gone over the road...It was a horrible experience.
“At the time when the bombing started in Manchester I was living in Sale (with my sister). I can remember sitting on the cellar steps, absolutely terrified. I can’t remember them bombing Sale, but it seemed very, very close because it was on the edge of Trafford Park...This cellar, eventually it had a coal grate in , with a side oven. She used to light a fire and there was a bed down there, and a cot for the little boy. She had a chair.
“As soon as the sirens went we just went down there and more or less sat it out...The sirens went at six o’clock every night for...I’ve just forgotten how long, it seemed like an eternity, me sitting in this cellar hearing all these bombs dropping everywhere...the noise was horrendous. They just never let up...I still jump at noises. Whether its to do with that I don’t know, but I still jump at noises...”