River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Land Army Days

June 2003

One mum's war memories

In the June 2002 issue of the Pump I wrote about my childhood memories. One of them was my mother's stories of the things that happened to her during her time on the farm during the war. This is one of them.

Mother had just put the carthorses in the stable after a days ploughing when a plane went overhead. As she watched (she was never one to run for cover) she saw a parachute floating down. It landed 2 fields away so she ran to get Charlie the farmer. He came out with his twelve bore at the ready and said to mum, "go and see if he's English or German. I'll be right behind you"! And that was exactly where he stayed all the way with his gun pointing over mum's shoulder. Thankfully the airman was English and unhurt but what went through his mind when he saw the approaching 'welcoming' party we will never know.

Another story she told me was about my grandfather's sister, Nellie, who had evacuated herself from London to stay with them while the Blitz was on. One night the air raid sirens went and everyone with the exception of Aunt Nellie trooped downstairs. Mum and her sister sat as usual under the big kitchen table, granddad took his usual seat on the sofa by the stove and started to read his newspaper while grandmother put the kettle on the stove to make a pot of tea. Ten minutes later Aunt Nellie came down wearing her best coat, hat and shoes and carrying her handbag. She picked up a dining chair, placed it by the door and sat down. Grandmother asked her why she had got dressed as everyone else had their nightclothes on. Her reply was "if this house is hit I'll be gone" and from behind the newspaper came granddads voice, tinged with a chuckle, "that you will my woman, that you will".

Mum was in her early twenties during the war years and when a platoon of soldiers were camped in the old Carr pit just down the road from her house she and her sister went out with a couple of them. The one mum went out with was a little older than her and she was a bit naive. Anyway they went for a walk one day round the back lanes and then sat down in a field for a rest. The young soldier got a bit too amorous for mums liking so she picked up the nearest object and hit him over the head with it and ran home. Her sister asked her where the boy was and was told "I hit him with a swede turnip and he's out cold. So I left him there".

Ann Zissler

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