Harry’s Tale

This is Harold Walker speaking, I used to live down Fountain Road, Hull, 9 Northumberland Villas to be precise, alongside Barmston Drain, and these are my earliest thoughts and memories, as a youth.
We lived in a small two up two down house, in it my father, mother and my elder brother Bill and my two sisters Dorothy and Chris lived. Here I worked as an errand boy for a small shop at the corner of the terrace, delivering groceries to the Almshouses or old peoples homes down at the end of Little Northumberland Avenue. This was to help bring money into the house, three and sixpence per week, every evening after school and Saturday morning.
I was originally at the Northumberland Avenue boy’s school, coming through from the infants, to the juniors, then to the seniors, but whilst being in the seniors the war was declared and we were transferred to Lincoln Street School to continue with our education. The reason being, as far as I know, was the school was partially used for other war purposes .At Lincoln Street we had quite a lot of trouble with mixing with the Lincoln Street lads, particularly a very little short, very bossy teacher with glasses, thinking he could do what he liked with us, but unfortunately he found out, we could also take a dislike to him, and the prank we did on him, was to pick his car up, 6 of us, a little tiny ford and put it in-between two posts, where the shelter was for us to take shelter from the weather. He had the embarrassment of having to go back to the other teachers to help him lift his car out.
Later on in years, many years later, as a Normandy Veteran, I did actually meet one of the same lads who were in the same prank with me, which was rather amazing.
When the war started, I can remember it very, very vividly, and things all changed. The first thing that happened was all lights being put out at night time, the blackout being imposed on every house, so they did not shine any light. All the lights in the street going out and the gas light being turned out, and this in itself was a danger to everyone because when you were able to look around you knew where the posts were and the telegraph polls- I personally did walk into one later on, which I knocked myself out completely, as there was a fog at the time. This was slightly later when living down Blenheim Street. Now back to my youth.
With the war the whole attitude to everything changed We were out on a few occasions when the aircraft, the enemy aircraft came over, the sirens began to wail, the guns used to open up and afterwards we went looking for shrapnel. This was one of the things many, many people did. Unfortunately, as time passed we actually finished up in an air raid, which used to happen with enemy aircraft over practically every night flying out somewhere into the country and coming back over the Humber, back to Germany. Looking outside, the aircraft flew above the railway line, the Hull and Barnsley line, which brought coal from Barnsley and goods. They went out of Hull onto the main line to Doncaster.
As the bombs came down, we all ducked, fortunately we lived to survive, but quite a number of my friends died. My father decided to see a chap called Sammy Allon who had a little green grocery wagon and pony, which he sold groceries from. Father asked him if he would move us to a home which he had found down Blenheim Street, which was 150 Blenheim Street .The reason for his choice, was that there was a concrete block air raid shelter in the garden which my father had a gas pipe put through the middle section of the concrete. Having put the gas pipe through, from one side to the other, he put wooden framing on top and this became our home, even when I went into the services .

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