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The True Horrors Of Ww2

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
not sure if this article has been posted here before and i dare say there are many others that have been written but i think its something we should all read and we should never forget those innocent brummies and indeed those all over england whos lives were cut short by something they had no control over....what people went through for 6 years both in battle and those left at home must never be taken lightly..when you read a story like this you will understand why...most upsetting..i would think that the photo that goes with it was printed just to show the devastation war caused as it is not of james st where at least 20 died..just for reference the crater is in hosptal st..the pub is the rose and crown corner of hospital st and brearley st..just to add mr jennings who was manager of the lozells picture house who died when it was hit had a daughter who was in the same class as our mom at lozells girls school and mom told me she well remembers having a special assembly for those lost..all i can say is god bless them all

lyn
 

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cookie273uk

master brummie
I agree with what you say Lyn, but the air raids only lasted about 2 years 1940/41, we had to leave our house for a few weeks due to bomb damage and this was in Shirley ! whereas my Gran and Grandad in Aston not a scratch, so refusing to come and stay with us turned out to be a wise choice. I think it was the lesser irritations that went on longer that were more noticeable, rationing into the 50's (our Mom used to give us her 'sweet' coupons like most Moms), walking in the dark because of the blackout, Wardens shouting 'put that xxxx light out' carrying gas masks (we used to have 'gas mask' drills at school, no oranges, banana's, pineapples, or other things normally imported, hearing the occasional bad news on the 'wireless' . Eric
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hello eric bit of info here which you probably already know
he Blitz

Birmingham was the second most heavily bombed city in the country, and along with the whole of Merseyside it lost more of its citizens to enemy action than any other place outside London. The Blitz killed 2,241 Brummies and seriously injured another 3,010, with 3,682 harmed slightly.

The Luftwaffe's air raids began on 9 August 1940 and ended on 23 April 1943, although the most destructive air raids occurred between the end of August 1940 and May 1941. Prolonged and powerful attacks destroyed 12,391 houses, 302 factories, 34 churches, halls and cinemas, and 205 other buildings. Thousands of other properties were damaged.

eric i can only imagine the sheer terror and fear that people had especially the adults on hearing the sirens but never knowing if their house/factory/pub/school would be hit...our mom and dad were both 10 when war broke out (moms dad died in 1938 leaving nan to bring up 3 young girls by herself) and as they both said at that age they did not fully understand just how much their lives were at risk it was a kind of adventure to them especially for the boys..dads house in hunters vale was narrowly missed but other buildings in the vale were destroyed.. dad said the noise and the aftermath is something that never left him ..he and his dad used to climb up ladders onto the roof of a nearby factory in villa st to push off the incenderies that had landed shortly after dad and his siblings were evacuated..mom recalled walking to school one day along wheeler st with one of her boy mates and they passed a shop showing a photo of a bride and groom...this young lad quite liked our mom and after looking at this photo he turned to our mom and said.".beryl one day i am going to marry you"...a few days later he along with all of his family were wiped out this is also something our mom never forgot..mom lived in paddington st and also recalled the day the corner chip shop on paddington and guildford st was hit...the building was destroyed but the owner was found sitting in his chair dead but with barely a scratch on him...eric i think rationing ended in 53 the year i was born and i would think times were very hard then but at least people could walk the streets without that awful fear they once had..i had 2 relatives (husband and wife) who were both killed when their house took a direct hit in erdington..their names are on the tree of life monument in town..for those whos lives were directly affected because of the bombings it must have been awful and a time i am glad i did not have to cope with...i have a list of names of every person who died during the raids along with their ages...it really is heart breaking to read it...so many children and infants...as i have said before i can only take my hat off to those who lost so much but carried on as best they could after the war...must have been so difficult..oh there is just one other thing to tell..our dad took up window cleaning and in the 1950s he went to clean one of his regular ladies windows..she lived up a terrace..i wont give the address or names out of respect to any living relatives..the lady never really spoke to any one much..kept herself to herself and she always left dads money on the window sill...one day there was no money there but the door was slightly open so dad pushed it and shouted hello..there was no reply but dad could smell gas so he went in only to find the lady with her head in the gas oven...he pulled her out and saved her...she never spoke to dad again and there was no thanks she just continued to leave her money on the window sill...dad was told by neighbours that she had never been the same since losing so many of her family during the blitz..this was most likely a cry for help but of course in those days there was no help ..true accounts such as this only highlights the horrors that war mentally brings and affects people for the rest their lives

lyn
 
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cookie273uk

master brummie
Lyn, I think that its amazing how we adapt and accept changes and learn to live with vastly altered circumstances, I was 9 when the war started we had moved to Shirley just 3 months before war was declared, never missed a days school, started my first Job (GEC Witton) in 1944, life just went on as normal as possible, I remember on our weekly visit to our Grans in the early days in Aston seeing the results of previous nights bombing in the Bull Ring, firemen still 'damping' down. It all became acceptable and part of daily life, later on I think we accepted and adapted to peace in the same way (after all the street celebrations !!). Eric
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
I will NEVER forget the sounds of the sirens and the bombers going over our house. The night that Coventry was hit. we all stood on the front step and saw the huge red glow of the fires. Yet besides it all, we tried to lead a normal life, in true British fashion, keep our chins up and spirits high. Going to school on the bus, seeing ever day bombed out houses and buildings wondering who was killed and who lived. I thank God for sparing me when so many died.
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
If I am truthful, and as a boy of seven when WW2 was declared, I had no real idea of war. Of course I knew that we were fighting the Germans, and our drawings at school depicted that, much the same as youngers do in current struggles. To hear the whistling of the bombs, the explosions, the red glow in the sky, having a young friend killed, and seeing buildings, or vehicles, that had been bombed, was an awful part of life, but to a young mind, it became almost 'the norm'.

In fact, many times I found it all quite exciting. Seeing the vapour trails in the sky, with the faint sound of machine guns, collecting shrapnel for 'swops' at school, the barrage balloons, the searchlights, playing on bombed sites, almost every day brought new adventures, and stories. It never entered my mind that we could lose the war. Always, that we would beat the Germans.

We were bombed out of our house, my father was away fighting, and my mother was absolutely fantastic. It was not for many years later, that I realised the true horrors, the hardships faced by our parents, and the resolution that kept them all going. How my mother managed through it all, I never had any idea, but she did, and her dedication, to my sister and I, without revealing her true worries, was something I will never forget.

God Bless all those that made it possible for all of us here today, and the fact than I am able to tell this short story.

Eddie
 

Old Boy

master brummie
If I am truthful, and as a boy of seven when WW2 was declared, I had no real idea of war. Of course I knew that we were fighting the Germans, and our drawings at school depicted that, much the same as youngers do in current struggles. To hear the whistling of the bombs, the explosions, the red glow in the sky, having a young friend killed, and seeing buildings, or vehicles, that had been bombed, was an awful part of life, but to a young mind, it became almost 'the norm'.

In fact, many times I found it all quite exciting. Seeing the vapour trails in the sky, with the faint sound of machine guns, collecting shrapnel for 'swops' at school, the barrage balloons, the searchlights, playing on bombed sites, almost every day brought new adventures, and stories. It never entered my mind that we could lose the war. Always, that we would beat the Germans.

We were bombed out of our house, my father was away fighting, and my mother was absolutely fantastic. It was not for many years later, that I realised the true horrors, the hardships faced by our parents, and the resolution that kept them all going. How my mother managed through it all, I never had any idea, but she did, and her dedication, to my sister and I, without revealing her true worries, was something I will never forget.

God Bless all those that made it possible for all of us here today, and the fact than I am able to tell this short story.

Eddie
Hi All,

I was a young lad of 13 years when the blitz started and, more or less, agree with what the other members have been saying. I lived in Small Heath which received more than its fair share of bombs and we were bombed out ourselves. However I do not think that I was ever frightened It was almost as though I thought myself immortal i.e it could not happen to me.

As already stated the bombing stopped in 1943. I think that Hitler had bitten off more than he could chew by invading Russia and fighting in North Africa.

London,of course, suffered the most. The Germans started using V1 weapons as they called them. They were pilotless flying bombs which became known as doodle bugs. They flew over and when the engine stopped they fell to the ground and exploded. There was no question of them hitting a particular target. They were just pointed in the direction of London and sent on their way. Many droppd before reaching London and the RAF also shot down many of them. London and the South East suffered from them and they never got any further.

Then the German introduced the V2 rockets. They were the deadliest of all as there could be no warning of their arrival so people would not be in their shelters and many landed in London. Fortunately they stopped after D Day when the allied forces finally captured their launching bases. Had this not happened I feel that we might have had to give up the war as there was no defence against these weapons.

There endeth the first lesson.

Old Boy
 

wam

master brummie
I vaguely remember my mother's account of being outside during a raid. Some woman let mum into her house between the time the doodlebug's engine stopped (they used to sound like a motorbike) and the thing exploded sending shrapnel everywhere. That was about as close as it gets without being fatal.
 

Old Boy

master brummie
I vaguely remember my mother's account of being outside during a raid. Some woman let mum into her house between the time the doodlebug's engine stopped (they used to sound like a motorbike) and the thing exploded sending shrapnel everywhere. That was about as close as it gets without being fatal.
Hi Wam,
The doodle bugs never got past London as their engines were designed to cut out when they reached that mileage from their launch base in France. They were so slow that many were destroyed by the RAF
almost as soon as they had crossed the coast. Certainly none reached Birmingham.
Old Boy
 

wam

master brummie
True, but then I wasn't born in Birmingham. Like my mum, I'm from Croydon - south of London and a target for raids because of the old airport. I've lived in Birmingham since the 60s.
 

Old Boy

master brummie
True, but then I wasn't born in Birmingham. Like my mum, I'm from Croydon - south of London and a target for raids because of the old airport. I've lived in Birmingham since the 60s.
Hello Wam,

I thought that may have been the case. I was simply trying to get across the fact that London suffered long after the raids had stopped over the rest of the country. We can say what we like about Londoners but there is no doubt that they were heroic during the war.

Old Boy
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Some information about V1 attacks outside the London area and the map shows that because they were air launched the impact sites were not accurate.
V1manc.jpg
On Christmas Eve, 1944. 45 missiles air-launched from He-111s of KG53 approximately 40 miles off the east coast between Hornsea and Mablethorpe between 0500 and 0600 aiming at Manchester. A V1 flying bomb struck near the corner of Abbey Hills Road and Warren Lane and 27 people were killed and a further 49 people were injured.
See http://aircrashsites.co.uk/air-raids-bomb-sites/luftwaffe-v1-attack-on-manchester-christmas-eve-1944/

There is an account of the V1 which impacted near Newport in Shropshire.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2005/05/27/history_bomb_on_newport_feature.shtml
 
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oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
I seem to remember the V1 or V2 going over. The engine would cut out and count to 10 for the explosion. Maybe I was dreaming? This was in Moat Lane Yardley
 

Old Boy

master brummie
I seem to remember the V1 or V2 going over. The engine would cut out and count to 10 for the explosion. Maybe I was dreaming? This was in Moat Lane Yardley
Hi Old Brit,

I am sorry but your memory is playing you tricks. No V1s or V 2s ever reached the Midlands.

Old Boy
 

Old Boy

master brummie
Some information about V1 attacks outside the London area and the map shows that because they were air launched the impact sites were not accurate.
View attachment 105746
On Christmas Eve, 1944. 45 missiles air-launched from He-111s of KG53 approximately 40 miles off the east coast between Hornsea and Mablethorpe between 0500 and 0600 aiming at Manchester.
https://aircrashsites.co.uk/air-raids-bomb-sites/a3/
A V1 flying bomb struck near the corner of Abbey Hills Road and Warren Lane and 27 people were killed and a further 49 people were injured.
https://aircrashsites.co.uk/air-raids-bomb-sites/v1-flying-bomb-site-oldham/
There is an account of the V1 which impacted near Newport in Shropshire.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2005/05/27/history_bomb_on_newport_feature.shtml
Old Mohawk,

This is most interesting and was an incident in the war that passed me by. Fortunately it seems to have been a complete fiasco and only one missile reached its intended target - Manchester. Others landed in various parts of the North West. Sadly several people were killed and the episode shows the mindset of the Germans in choosing Christmas Eve to make such an attack.
 

GEFF

Geff
72 years to the day, how many of us can remember the 6th June 1944. It is history now, I lost a few friends I grew up with, aged 18/20 years old. GEFF
 

Glarney

Proper Brummie Kid
Although too young to remember the events of this day in 1944, the Normandy landings were obviously crucial in turning the tide of the War. The lives lost then, so that freedom could be returned to continental Europe and Nazism defeated, should never be forgotten.
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
This week I watched a programme that I must have missed last year called Blitz City it featured David Harewood and his visit to Birmingham to find out how the blitz impacted on Brum.
He met ladies from BARRA and I was moved to tears by their stories of losing loved ones.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
i saw that one alberta..as you say very moving...i recently posted on another thread about about the astle family from guildford st...mom..nan and 6 children all lost their lives..i shall talking soon to my aunt joyce who was born in 1930 and has memories of growing up during ww2...like our mom she lived in paddington st which was next to guildford st...will be writing down her memories...

lyn
 
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