The top half was for my brother, myself and 2 sisters and my father and mother
slept at the bottom .On the front, into the concrete shelter, two half doors,
a top half and a bottom half, here we were going to have to spend many, many
nights, listening to air aid sirens, bombs being dropped, fires starting, people
being killed and also people being injured .
It may sound strange to you, hearing this, but this is war unfortunately, and as time passed and we saw our friends being killed and injured.
While I was living there I joined the ATC, 152 Squadron which was then down Park Street where we learnt our drills on what was the Corporation Fields, and this is now being built on, to the best of my knowledge. The training I got there helped me a great deal, at a later date, when I joined up myself.
This was on my 18th birthday, I volunteered, at what was then above the post office down Jameson Street, which later became the Radio Humberside Studios. When I volunteered at 18,as I went through my medical, where you had to strip off all your clothes and went from one little cubicle into another, as I came out I was told by the officer that I had passed my medical. He then said to me ‘you are very lucky you have been accepted into the air force but in the very near future all the people who would normally be called up would be going down into the mines’-these later became known as Bevin Boys, and to me, I always felt guilty of going into the air force and them going down the mines, to me the mines were more dangerous than being in the air force.
So off I go, I received my calling up papers, duly at 18, but before I went, I went to my Auntie Kath who was at Trustthorpe in Lincolnshire and had a fortnight with them doing harvesting. Every evening there, I was made fully aware of what the air force was doing because huge masses of bombers were to take off every evening from all the airfields there, and go out to Germany or whatever the target was, to come back later, some, but only the lucky ones .We felt that we would be able to do some good in the air force, I went, and where was it? To Padgate.
My journey to Padgate was quite interesting. As I got into the carriage at Paragon Station, there were three quite handy lads who came in with me and it turned out they were ex-fishermen from the trawlers, but had been called up. When they looked at me they asked me where I was going, I said “to Padgate”, and the reply from one chap was “can you swear?” I said ‘no’, he said, “well we’ll have to alter that”, he said, “Can you drink?” I said “no”, he said “well, we’ll have to alter that as well”, he said “ anyway you need looking after, we’ll look after you, we’ll tell you this now, we will not be staying with you because we are sure they will be asking for us to be recalled to go back on the trawlers, going minesweeping!”
I have not met them since, but I was very grateful to them, they taught me about the adult life and how to swear and how to drink, which held me in good stead.
That is a introduction to me going to Padgate where my whole attitude of life changed -anyone who has been in the services will know, the difference between thinking for yourself and being told what to do by someone else.
At Padgate, we very soon learnt about discipline. One of the first instances was when we all fell out onto the parade ground for inspection. The sergeant in charge told us to remove our headgear. He proceeded down the line, pulling everyone’s hair and told us that we had to have it all removed and come back on parade in an hour’s time. Having dismissed us we all trouped off to the barbers to have it cut. Each in turn had his hair cut off .One or two tried bribing the barbers not to cut too much off, the barbers took their money and the men, in turn returned back on to parade .The sergeant again came round, felt at the back of the head and if he could get hold of your hair, it was too long .