The years that Germany attempted to subjugate Britain by air bombardment was not the ideal time to expend our childhood. But as children, both my husband Bryan and I survived those years with all our arms, legs, and other appurtenances intact.
The German air force needed air superiority before invading Britain, but the thin ranks of British fighter pilots eventually denied the Germans that advantage. As a result, the German invasion was abandoned, but intimidation of the nation by aerial bombing continued for the next four years.
Both born in the late 1930s, we spent our elementary school years watching the skies as naturally as we watched for traffic before crossing the street. Indiscriminate bombing of residential as well as industrial areas meant we were all targets.
Bryan grew up in a stable home, so the war had a greater impact on him than on me. Although I had to contend with the threatened dangers of war, my impaired home was a more immediate threat to me and my brothers.
I was more concerned with maintaining life in a hazardous home environment, and shepherding three younger brothers during the most critical times. We spent many periods in children’s homes during the worst of our mother’s sick rampages both in and after the war.
Bryan, on the other hand, found his pleasures in the incidental things of the war: “toys” dropped by the overhead combatants, or exploring air-raid shelters and bombed buildings. Fascination with war machines and the often strange but absorbing maintenance of public transportation kept his attention.
Now in our older years, we are intrigued to find so many children and adults who were born after the war interested in the stories of that turbulent time. Thus we decided to write up some of our war time experiences and the aftermath.
The resulting book, War Kids: Growing Up in World War Two England, is one of several books comprising a legacy we plan for our expanding family. The stories in this book are all based on actual events of the years from about 1940 until Bryan and I met in our early teens in 1950.
Maintaining faith and resolve during the war, gratitude for the sacrifices made for our freedom, and our renewed appreciation of it, contributed to the people we became, the marriage we made, and the children we raised.
Books are available from www.pebblepress.ca, or directly from us for $15.00 plus shipping at 403-328-3745.