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They told us Britain had declared war on Germany.
I used to go home looking up to the sky,
hoping that I would see a dog fight.
It was like one big adventure.
'That's me, Isabel.
'And that's my granddad, Alan. He's 82.
'At the start of World War Two, he was nine years old, just like me.'
'During the war, Granddad lived at the top of this hill.
'From here, he'd often see British war planes
'going off to fight enemy planes attacking London.'
Sometimes I go to school by car,
but mostly I go to school by walking. How did you get to school?
Well, I used to go to school on my roller skates.
But of course, as you can see,
this hill is quite steep.
But there was no danger because there was no traffic.
'The mile-long journey had taken 20 minutes to walk,
'or less than ten on his roller skates.'
'This is his school - Preston Park in Wembley.
'It's still here today.'
Is this your classroom?
Yes. I was last here in about 1940.
'Granddad's classroom would have looked something like this one.'
The different things about that time was, our teachers don't wear suits.
And we don't have blackboards.
We don't have individual desks either.
AIR RAID SIREN BLARES
'Sometimes, when Granddad was at school,
'they'd hear an air raid siren,
'which meant that enemy planes were in the area
'and might be dropping bombs.'
What happened if an air raid went off when you were in school?
It really was disruptive and the headmistress here
has written about the daily effect this had on the school.
So here you see September 6th, for example.
"School began at 10.30 this morning
"and at 2.15 this afternoon, following air raid warnings".
September 14th. "School opened at 10.50 following the all-clear,
"but children went to the shelters at 11 and remained till 11.40."
If the air raids happened during school,
then I think I would feel a tiny bit scared.
'But Granddad wasn't scared.'
I used to go home sometimes hoping, looking up to the sky,
and hoping that I would see a dogfight with the Hurricanes
and Spitfires attacking the bombers
and all the white lines and tracks left in the sky.
Because, for a young lad, believe me, that was very exciting.
'During the war, 9,000 bombs fell in the area where Granddad lived.
'Because of the bombing, many children were evacuated
'to safer parts of Britain or even to other countries.
'Some of Granddad's school friends were sent to Canada on this boat.'
Here, on September 23rd, is a very sad entry.
"The whole school was shocked today
"when we received the news that seven children
"lost their lives when the ship
"in which they were being evacuated to Canada was torpedoed.
That would be a bit sad if two of my friends got torpedoed.
AIR RAID SIRENS BLARE
This is an air raid shelter that was used during the war.
'If a bombing raid happened when Granddad was at school
'the whole class was sent to an air raid shelter.
'There's one like it in the school today. It's now a museum.'
A lot of old stuff from the war.
Oh, yes, yes.
Did you rush to get out of school and into the air raid shelter,
or did you all have to line up sensibly?
Ah! We filed out and no-one was allowed to run from the classroom.
So we came out in an orderly fashion.
Then the teacher checked
that everyone was out of the classroom and we'd be counted in.
It was like a fire drill.
Were you allowed to talk?
Oh, yes. Oh, yes, you could talk and carry on.
We used to take some exercise books in and try to work.
But if anything's going on outside, it is a big distraction.
You can't concentrate, really, can you?
I used to like to sit near the door
because I liked to hear what was going on.
It's quite similar to this
because there's wooden benches going opposite each other
and they're doing their schoolwork which they would be doing.
This is a purpose-built solid brick air raid shelter
with a reinforced roof, as you can see.
How did you feel in the air raid shelter
when there were bombs going off around you?
We weren't really scared, no, not at all.
But the uncertainty of the rockets was the worst thing
because the V1s, you could hear.
And if the engine stopped, you knew there was imminent danger.
How did you know when the air raid had finished?
Well, the siren would go up high
and then stay on high for a steady pitch.
When the all-clear siren sounded,
Granddad and his friends collected pieces of metal called shrapnel
from the recently exploded bombs.
Here's two examples of shrapnel.
And they really are thick, jagged steel.
Here, just hold a piece and see what you think of it.
It's very sharp and heavy.
It would hurt if you threw it at someone.
-It would hurt a lot.
-Oh, yes, oh, yes.
And it's very, very strong.
'Granddad lived in this house with his mum, dad and brother.'
Is that your mum?
Yes, that's my mother.
That's my brother Robin and my mother...
And that's me as a young lad.
My brother was not pleased that I hadn't smiled.
Did you have a bomb shelter at your house?
No, we didn't have anything like that here.
My mother and father went to sleep
underneath the table in the front room.
So if the ceiling came down, the table would protect them.
My brother, Robin, was behind a bookcase
with a cover over the top
and he slept in the corner there.
'Granddad slept on the sofa under an ironing board.'
Now, this ironing board
was put across the back of the bed like this.
And then put on the back of a chair
and the seat of the chair was level with my bed.
It feels weird because you can see,
like, the ironing board in front of you
instead of the top of your ceiling.
But, of course, when all the lights went out
you could forget about it, couldn't you?
I would have felt a bit scared.
One night, when everyone was asleep, a bomb fell on the house next door.
How did you feel in the morning
when you woke up and you realised a bomb had hit the house?
I realised something very serious had happened.
And I could hear a lot of shouting.
And, er...then I was picked up by a police inspector.
And my brother, Robin, was picked up by a fireman
and we were carried out of the house.
The people next door,
where six people had been killed, had stood no chance.
So the emphasis on the rescue was to try to get my mother out.
And the worry was, would the house collapse while they were doing it?
So my grandfather said, "Well, I'm going in anyway."
So the rescuers went in, they followed him in,
and, er...but it was too late.
My mother had been killed and we were all in a state of shock.
Granddad's mum, my great-grandma,
was one of the 60,000 people that died in Britain
during the bombing raids of World War Two.
'Granddad's told me lots of stories
'about his life growing up as a child in World War Two.
'But my favourite was that he slept under an ironing board
'and it saved his life.'
That's your great-granddad.
And we called him Our Butcher
because that's where we used to get all our meat.
'That's me, Anesha. I'm 11.
'And this is Mrs Campbell. She's 78.
'She's been a family friend for many years.'
-Do you remember Nanna Lily?
-You must take after her, Anesha.
Mrs Campbell was five at the start of World War Two
and lived with her mum and dad.
This was my dad. And his name was Simon.
And he was born in Jamaica. He came over into the country.
He was in the Merchant Navy.
'Mrs Campbell's dad would go away on ships for up to two years at a time.
'They carried goods like food, coal and oil.
'His job became even more important during the war,
'as Britain relied on these things to survive.'
The family lived in Bute Town, close to Cardiff Docks in South Wales.
The docks were targeted, along with many big cities,
by enemy bombing raids.
Over 2,000 bombs fell on Cardiff during the war
and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.
It was quite a dangerous place to be in
and that's why some parents wanted their children to be evacuated.
Being evacuated meant leaving your home
and going to live in smaller towns and villages outside the cities,
which were less likely to be bombed.
'Three million people were evacuated during the war.'
Mrs Campbell was one of them.
She was sent with her classmates from St Mary's,
the same school I am at now.
Right, Anesha. Now you're going to be an evacuee.
There's your suitcase.
There's your gas mask, which is very, very important.
And there's your label.
'Labels were important in case children got lost.'
And everyone had a gas mask,
just in case poisonous gas bombs were dropped during air raids.
Mrs Campbell and I are going on the same journey
that she took as an evacuee when she was seven.
We didn't go on trains very often.
I don't think I'd ever travelled from this station before.
So although we were a bit unhappy,
we were also very excited.
Children from cities all over the country
were evacuated on trains like this one.
Some of our little cases. I had a small case.
That's a gas mask.
-They all look happy, don't they?
Because, to all of us, it was like one big adventure.
We're going to Aberdare, which is 25 miles from Cardiff,
to where Mrs Campbell and her school friends were evacuated.
Do you remember what you saw when you were on the train?
Actually, it's 70 years since I was evacuated.
So my memory's not all that good.
But one thing I do remember is seeing so much green.
Because where we lived in the docks,
we didn't have a lot of greenery.
Did you know how long you were going to be in Aberdare for?
No, we didn't. We didn't have any idea.
All we knew was, we were going to be evacuated
and we were supposed to be staying there until the end of the war.
And I remember some of us were looking at our gas masks
and wondering if we'd ever need to use the gas masks.
I think we just, for the most part, enjoyed the journey.
Although we did have some children who were a little bit upset.
-But you made the most of it?
-Oh, we made the most of it.
Those are very good words. We made the most of it. We had to.
'When Mrs Campbell arrived in Aberdare,
'she got off the train, just like me,
'with her suitcase, gas mask and label.'
We all had to walk down to the school.
I wanted to go and remember saying, "I want to go home to my mother."
This is where the Aman Junior School was when I came here.
It was really very, very different
but it's the stonework that I remember most of all.
The stones and the mountains and the green trees.
They remind me of when I was here all those years ago.
We all stood in the big hall and people would come in.
And they would say, "Oh, I'll have these children",
or "I'll have those children".
And I remember that my friend, Betty Neale and I,
we were about the last two to be chosen
because we wanted to stay together.
And I wondered if anyone was going to come and take us,
or if we'd have to get on the train and go back home.
So then we were feeling a little bit apprehensive, as you know,
why hasn't anyone come along and taken us?
But a nice couple, Mr and Mrs Challenger,
they said that they wanted us to go and stay with them.
Mrs Campbell and her friend Betty walked a short distance
to this house, where Mr and Mrs Challenger lived
with their daughter Hazel.
We came into the house
and Mrs Challenger had a meal arranged for us.
It was placed in front of myself and Betty Neale.
And I think it was then that it dawned on us
that we were away from home. And we just sat there.
We didn't pick up the knife or the fork.
We just sat looking at each other.
And then Mrs Challenger said to us,
"If you don't know how to use a knife and fork,
"bach, use your fingers."
She just thought that because we didn't pick up a knife and fork
that we didn't know how to use them.
How would you have felt if you were in my shoes?
That you were coming out, leaving your mum and dad
and coming up here
to live with strange people?
I think I might have felt left out.
Because they would have had a daughter that would know them
and they might treat me differently than they treated her.
I don't think we ever felt left out.
But now and again, Hazel and I would have an argument.
But the thing is, I could say,
how did she feel that here were her parents taking in two other girls?
-And previous to that, she'd been the only child in the house.
Did your parents ever come to visit?
My hair was really, really bushy and my mother used to plait it.
But I'm afraid Mrs Challenger didn't know how to plait my hair.
So my mother would come up on a weekend.
She would plait my hair tightly and then all during the week,
I'd just go like that with a brush,
so that was nice and flat.
And my plaits stayed in place.
And also my dad, who was a seaman, was going away to sea
and my mother brought him up to see me.
He brought me a handbag,
a little leather handbag that he'd brought from another country.
And I remember it had Red Riding Hood on it.
Why did you go back home to Cardiff?
I went back earlier than I was expected to
because my dad was killed in September 1942.
His ship was torpedoed by a German submarine.
And I think my mother was a bit upset about that.
And she just felt quite alone with me being in Aberdare
and my dad not coming home any more. What she said to me was,
"I'm taking you home because if we're going to die,
"we'll die together."
I went home, but unfortunately I left the beautiful handbag
with Red Riding Hood on.
I've always regretted that
because that was the last thing that my father ever bought me.
After the war, Mrs Campbell went back to St Mary's School
and later became a teacher there.
But she never forgot her experiences during the war.
The fact that you were, you know, taken from your house, your home.
Put on a train, met new people.
To me it was almost like an adventure from an Enid Blyton book.
Oh, that's lovely.
-How are you? All right?
'That's me, Tyler. I'm nine and that's Sarah.
'She's a friend of my Nanna.'
I've started rugby at school.
Have you? Great.
'Sarah's 83, but at the start of World War Two she was 11.'
During the war, Britain's cities were attacked by enemy aeroplanes.
Bolton in north-west England, where Sarah lived,
wasn't as badly bombed as other places.
But the war had a big impact on Sarah and her family.
She was in this church when she first heard that war had broken out.
The priest was serving Mass
and then he told us that Britain had declared war on Germany.
I was very frightened.
And I ran all the way home,
thinking that on my way home,
there'd be Germans coming round any corner at any minute.
That was just being silly, wasn't it? But that's how I was.
Did you know anybody who was in the war?
My father was in the war from the beginning.
Well, my mother wasn't very pleased because he'd joined up.
In joining up, her dad volunteered to be in the armed forces
and fight for his country.
As war went on,
all fit young men had to join up.
What did you feel like when your dad went to war?
There were things that you used to be a bit frightened of,
as you always relied on your father.
And it made it worse because they couldn't write to you.
Just now and again you'd get a little card
and it had been censored with the officers.
They couldn't tell you much.
"Censored" meant the soldiers' letters would be checked
to make sure they didn't give away any secrets.
Sarah's dad was away for long periods
but was given permission to visit her in hospital
when she became sick with diphtheria -
a very infectious illness.
Sarah was kept away from all visitors for six weeks.
If your mum came to see you,
they had to look through a window outside at you.
They couldn't come in.
And, in my case, they got my father home on leave.
He was stationed in England at the time
but he could only speak to me through the window,
which upset me a great lot.
Who looked after you when your dad went to war?
Well, my mother had to work.
I was the one that did a lot of things.
I had a little sister to look after.
She was seven years younger than me.
During the 1930s, most women stayed at home
to look after their families.
But during the war, women did traditional male jobs
whilst the men were away fighting.
If I had to look after my sister,
it would be happy because I'd be with her,
but sad because my mum would be at the mill
and my dad would be at war.
I used to cook a meal for when my mother came home from the mill.
I was only 12. You know what I used to make?
-Corned beef hash.
Because it was easy.
During the war, there was far less food to go around.
Rationing was brought in all over the country
to ensure that everyone got an equal share and had enough to eat.
What did you eat during the war?
-Well, would you like to see?
-That's quite a lot.
For a week.
'The sorts of food that were rationed were jam, sugar,
'and even sweets.'
If that had to last me one week, I'd never feel full!
And it would be hard.
Did you, when you were little, sometimes go
-and sneak into the kitchen and take some?
You couldn't get tinned fruit at all.
But now and again, you'd get word that there was some somewhere.
My mum, she got this tin anyway, pineapple chunks,
and put it away for a special occasion.
And I just don't know what come over me, but I just got it down,
right off the top shelf.
And I made a little hole in the top, poured all the juice out.
I drank the juice. Oh, it was good!
I hadn't had any for a long time.
When my mum come to use it, quite a long time after,
it was all furred up inside.
Where did you get your bread from?
They used to deliver that by horse and cart.
And my mother used to say, before she went to work,
"Now, we only need a loaf today."
But sometimes I was a bit naughty.
And it was too much for me and I'd get a doughnut.
And when my mother came to pay the bill on a Friday,
she wasn't pleased with me at all
because I'd had a few extra things.
But when I used to see them on the tray, I couldn't resist it.
There were no supermarkets then, so Sarah's mum had to visit
different shops to buy her meat,
cheese and vegetables.
The shops, there weren't a long way in between.
You'd get them on every corner.
I'd feel exhausted if I was going to every shop.
And then coming back with everything ready
and then maybe have to go again.
Many people added to their food rations
by growing their own fruit and vegetables in gardens
and on any spare land.
The government started the Women's Land Army
to increase the amount of food grown in Britain.
Over 80,000 women worked on local farms.
And Sarah wanted to be one of them.
'I wanted to join the Land Army but I was only 14.'
I was going to be naughty because I was a big girl,
and say I was older than I was.
Just to join the Land Army.
But the sister at our school... I was ready for leaving school then.
She said, "Well, if you're that keen
"and you know you can't go in the Land Army
"because of your age,
"I can find you a job to help the farmer." Which she did.
Sarah spent hours and hours weeding fields like this one by hand
to help grow food for the people of Bolton.
Did you take any of your own food home?
She used to give me cabbages and potatoes and flowers for my mother.
And of course my mother liked that, you know.
And I could drink as much milk as I wanted during the day,
when it used to get warm.
So, you know, it was pretty hard work, really.
But you had this sense that you were helping.
And that's what it was all about.
This is where I used to live here.
Has it changed much?
One day, my mother was taking to me a shop
and in the distance I saw this soldier walking up our road.
And, you know, I said,
"That's my father."
So my mother said, "It's not your father, he's in France."
But Sarah was right. It was her dad.
He had a beard, which he didn't have before.
And he was just unkempt,
not tidy at all, which is understandable.
Anyway, we got him home
and when he'd had...
a wash and a shave,
a nice hot cup of tea,
he came round a little bit.
But when he did go to bed, I think he slept for three days.
Sarah's dad had been fighting in France in May 1940,
when the German army pushed the British forces
into a small area of the French coast.
Over the next nine days,
he was one of 340,000 men brought back to Britain
as part of the evacuation of Dunkirk.
To welcome Sarah's dad back home, they had a street party.
But it was not until the end of the war in 1945
that the whole country could celebrate.
See all the happy faces there?
The party went on all night and all day the next day.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd