“...I remember standing with Grandma Taylor, at the back gate, by the stables, seeing everything lit up over Manchester, saying wasn’t it pretty, and Grandma getting cross with me. I obviously wasn’t very old...
“My dad went off somewhere and then a few months later he came back on embarkation leave. He had chocolate in his kit bag...we were only allowed one square at a time, a special treat. Then he went away and we didn’t see him for four years...
“Prior to my dad going away there had been a fire, at Boothby’s farm up on Cobden Edge. We had a Manchester wagon. It had previously belonged to a coal merchant. It had a coach built cab...there was, I think, a five gallon drum of petrol in the cab and by some means or other the haystack caught on fire. My dad and the cab got mixed up and my dad got burned as a result of the petrol going up. All I could remember about my dad was that he had a funny top lip. Obviously part of his face got burned, blistered and so on...My dad didn’t come back until April ’46. He’d been all through North Africa and Anzo and all round Italy. He was much more filled out...he was was very brown, very sun tanned and he didn’t have a funny top lip any more...As a result, I didn’t know who he was...I did say to my mum that I didn’t want that man in our house. I remember doing that because I didn’t recognise him at all. I think Joan and John did, but I didn’t. Of course I was younger...
“I remember knitting at Mellor school. The scarves were knit one, pearl one, and virtually everybody did it wrong. So they used to stand at the queue at the teachers desk and if you were crafty and got at the end of the queue, you never had to knit any more that lesson. But somebody discovered that I could actually knit...I was only about eight when I was knitting balaclavas and gloves on four needles, for the Air Force and the Army...”
“There was a bomb that fell in the village, I remember the night it fell. We didn’t have a bathroom in the farm cottage. We used to have a bath with a tin bath on the hearth rug, which was filled by carrying water from the ‘copper’...I was just stepping out, all wet and starkers, when this terrible, almighty bang came. We all dived under the table...I understand that it was a land mine that they’d dropped, it fell about a mile, mile and a half away just about where Jack Huges lives now. In fact thirty yards the other way and his house wouldn’t be there now...I was perhaps eight, or maybe nine so that would be around 1942.
“...we once or twice stayed with Grandma and Grandad Gaskell, in Cheadle Heath. On one occassion...I remember seeing it go past. The front bedroom was L shaped, with a double bed in one leg and a double bed in the other...Beryl and I slept in one bed and John and my mother slept in the other. John woke up because of this noise...(and) he went to tell Grandad. Then I saw this thing go past, a flying bomb. If you can imagine...it clearly wasn’t as near as it seemed, it can’t have been, but it seemed to be flying straight down the street. We could hear it (but) I don’t recall that we heard it cut out....”