Dennis Grugan

British Civilian

Can you tell me your name and where and when you were born?

My name is Dennis Grugan, aged 87.  Anything else you want to know?

Where were you born?

Where was I born? I was born at Blanchland.  I have something written down, this is before the war so it gives you an idea of how in my life I had to deal with problems and things since.  But it is before the war but it’s just the build-up of the family.  It will give you an idea what I’ve got.  My father worked in the coal mines in 1926 I think when the big strike was on and so he wanted work so quite a few of them moved to Blanchland and worked in the lead mines.  The owners of the mines were trying to get more lead and more lead out and they stopped damping the dust so that the miners then got the lead dust on their lungs and there was 12 of them died with this lead dust and I think my father was the last and he was 32 year old so my mother was left with my younger brother and I which I think I would be 3, coming up for 3 years old I think and my brother would be 18 months and so my mum decided to try and take the mines to court and sue them so she took them to court and we, my brother and I were awarded a small amount of money each week until we were 14, as soon as we worked it finished which helped because my mother only had 10 shillings a week as a widows pension.  Really, we had to move from Blanchland because the house rent was put right up and it was quite high.  I don’t know what it was but it was meaning we needed a cottage with a lower rent so we moved back to Edmundbyers where my mother was from and her mother or her father had a small holding.  The photograph of the farm is on the photograph which I will explain later.

So, we were near to the grandmother and my mother’s sister.  So, we moved to Edmundbyers as I said and we got a house there which the rent was 7 shilling and sixpence which left my mother with two and six and plus I never knew how much compensation that she got for my brother and I.  I don’t think it could be much so really times were hard from then until we were working.  I went to a little school in Edmundbyers where there was 12 people, pupils altogether and I don’t think there was anyone the same age, right from 5 or whatever it was to school leaving age so the teacher had a job that she had to go through them all you see and then when war broke out we, I remember we were fitted with gas masks.  I got a photo of myself with a gas mask and it was issued in a cardboard box and just a piece of string, so you can imagine how long that was going to last in school so then everybody started to buy a tin one, you could drop it and kick it and anything with it.  We all had to have an identity disk.

It’s the small one on there, less the, can you see the lid… have you got it, yeah that’s mine without the strap of course because it deteriorated but it has been so well worn you will be able to make my name and registration number which I have never forgotten.  It’s like my army number.  Its FHBB392.  So, if anything happened to you they had your, and they could just… your info.

They had a small school at Edmundbyers, it wasn’t just, lessons just weren’t straight forward.  I’ve written down here we were taught how to cook your own meal, so the headmistress would say you, bring potatoes, you bring carrots, such and such and we would make a broth if it was a cold day so that was the lesson.  Another one was we all had to learn to knit squares and they were all sewn together and sent to make a blanket or whatnot for the troops.  Now it was difficult being 5 years old and trying to learn to knit!!  But I’ve never forgotten, in, over, through, off.  That was how you knit, did you know that, well it’s in, over, through, off.  Anyway, that was another lesson and then we had all the other practical lessons as well, as well as your history and if it was a fine day at the back of the school was a field and we would go up there and sit and do our lessons up there or various things.

The school closed down and we were sent to a school in Bentfieldside, do you know Consett, Shantleybridge area, it was a very large school with 32 in a class so you got an idea there was a senior and middle school and infant school so it covered a big area but the thing was we were sent from a quiet little village to an area like that and we were right at the foot of Consett Steel Works so that if the Germans were going to bomb they were going to hit Bentfieldside as well.  So, after we had been at that school for one year they couldn’t understand why each of us were one year ahead of all the class, each class, the seniors were ahead and eventually they solved it by, I would be sitting on a desk here and someone would be here and I remember it because I mind 2 years younger and it went all the way up.  The teacher would start at the oldest one and she would be talking to her or him and giving them lessons and we were all listening to what she was saying and then she would come down and down and then as she got to me probably the youngest one was listening what she was saying to me.  So, we were leapfrogging all the way through until we were all a year ahead. Which was strange.

When the air raid siren went for a, through the day we all had to rush to these big shelters underground which held the 32 or more from a class and if you were in the shelter longer than 20 minutes you got a stick of barley sugar.

There was, being at a big school, we were inclined to pick up some of the diseases that were going at the time such as impetigo have you heard of impetigo and tape worms which was very smittle, very smittle indeed because if you held a handrail anywhere you could pick up these eggs and it was chaos and I remember being very ill with it once over and a nurse from the First World War said to my mother oh you can cure that and my mother said how and the nurse said just eat raw turnip.

And apparently the worms eat everything that comes into yer stomach and you had to eat this raw turnip until the… and then killed them.  It cured me straight away.

When the gases started to be used we had to have a test with our gas masks so what they did was you went into this shelter underground but they pumped teargas into it. So that you had your gas mask on. They then said “take 2 fingers and move the side of the gas mask and just let it go back again and let a little bit tear gas in , and let you see how painful it is”.  And I thought ‘No I am just gonna take your word for it’ ‘I’ll take your word for it’. My masks working all right. I dunno how many else did but never mind.

My grandmother who was a widow where she was on a small farm at Edmundbyers was sort of 6 fields to it and moorland and her and her daughter had to run it on their own when my grandmother was beginning to get a little bit older.  So I had to go and sort of help on the farm and I was on it most nights, weekends and in the hay time I spent a lot of time because I got a book somewhere… here a photograph.  This is the horse. This is in Ireland but this is exactly what work I was having to do and this field could have been at the farm at Edmundbyers. It’s the piping of the hay.  In those days someone had to stand on the top and build it and you had to make sure that it was built properly otherwise the rain would get in and the hay would all get..  it wasn’t an easy job but that was my job on the top and my grandmother and aunty had to fork it up and all the hay as it dried on the field had to be turned by hand.  I used to go along with a hand rake and all round and round covering about 2 or 3 acres.

I worked on the farm quite a bit.  One summer we had a field all ready to pike.  My grandmother said to me would you ask your master to have a week off school for the help with the hay.  I said ‘no no no’.  I said if you write a letter I will take it to him.  So I took the letter to the master and said it was form my grandmother and he read it and off he went to see the headmaster and said yes it was quite alright to have the week off.  So I had that week off and then I had 4 weeks holiday. So I had the 5 weeks which was quite good.

As money was quite scarce as you can understand I got a job beating on the grouse moors at Edmundbyers.  And I used to go beating… not every Saturday but most Saturdays, but when war broke out the government said don’t stop shooting but you can’t buy cartridges because the factories needed to make the ammunition… but if they had any in stock you can buy them up and still use them to shoot.  And being wealthy men they all got together and went to the factory and said right we’ll buy all your stock.

So they had all the cartridges, they had plenty of cartridges, so the shooting carried on.

Now then, my wage was 10 shillings for one day, which was very good considering a man on agriculture got 21 shillings a week, so I got half of his wage in one day. My first pay, two or three days afterwards, I cycled from Edmund Byers to Shotley Bridge – my friend went with me – about 5 miles, and I bought a pair of booths for 7 shillings and 6d and when I got home my mother says ‘You should have paid 10 shillings for a better pair’. Anyway, I thought I’d done a good deed.

And then there was the food rationings, and clothes and sweets was all rationed. The food, being in a rural area, we weren’t too bad because my grandmother used to make butter, we occasionally got some, but she had to sell it because she needed money for the farm, that was an income, the butter. And eggs. And she used to take, they were called Visitors in – that was holiday makers. But when war broke out it was restricted to who would come then, so you see it wasn’t easy. So, as far as butter goes, my mother used to get fresh milk from another uncle in the village, and let it stand a little bit and then skim the cream off into a jar. And when she had quite a bit she had an old milk can, she’d put it in and keep shaking and shaking and then eventually she got butter. So that’s how we… it helps.

Another recipe where you sort of got a slightly bigger meal was a scrambled egg. As you did your scrambled egg, you put a slice of crumbled up white bread – sorry, there was no white bread during the war – so it was just a slice of bread, mixed it all up, and you can’t tell where the egg or the bread is, and you get an extra portion.

I used to catch rabbits on my grandmother’s farm as well, so we used to have the odd rabbit. I’m not sure she could have sold those as well.

I haven’t mentioned the blackouts. Everybody had to have blackouts. Strictly made sure that your windows were sealed, there had to be no lights, and even the church had to have blackouts on some of the windows, and you couldn’t take them down because they were so high up in the church. So that was the blackouts.

I joined the choir in my spare time but there wasn’t many of us in the choir, there was about 4 or 5 so it wasn’t a great lot, but then they needed somebody to blow the church organ and the priest said to me, would I do it? And I said, well, yes I would do it, and I got 10 shillings a quarter, which wasn’t bad – it was something for this. And I think I attended every Sunday, morning service and evening service, and blew the organ. And I can only remember one day when nobody turned up in church and it had snowed quite heavily until nobody could really get out, so after a while the priest said ‘Come back to the rectory and we’ll have a coffee’. Being a young boy, when I got in, oh the luxury. And I thought, oh – I’m not at ease. So I drank my coffee as quick as I could and – off. A little bit about the organ. There was a big service one day and the priest wanted me to try and get into choir, so there was a young farm boy came to church for the first time that day. Now unfortunately he was slightly backward, he didn’t understand things. So the priest just said to us Would you blow the organ, Yes, so I had to give him lessons in about 5 minutes what to do and what happened was the organist wanted you to blow the organ, there was a little ring and a wire she pulled that went up and round and all over til it got to the back and then it went click click, so I said when you hear that get up and blow the organ, Yep, he says.  And so the organist started and just before she started click click, you could hear Albert with the organ pumping it up and she was playing away and the keys went click click click , no air in the organ so she pulled on the reign again and you could hear Albert jump up from the seat, he thought there was enough air in that he had put in and jumped up from the seat and the organ would start playing again which took us all our time to stop laughing.

The army used to have exercises in about Edmundbyers and they camped just below my grandmothers farm one night and along the bottom they were practice throwing hand grenades about a short distance away so my friend and I though at nighttime we will pop up and see what they have been throwing these hand grenades at and whats happening and when we were walking round we found one and the pin had been pulled halfway out and apparently the person that threw it had been nervous and hadn’t pulled it right out and you hold the handle on the grenade and throw it and then within so many seconds it explodes.  So we thought we better go and tell the Army that there is a live hand grenade because any person or animal could have kicked it and of it would have gone.  We had a job getting into the camp because there was a guard and we said we wanted to see the sergeant so eventually he came strutting down sort of very buncous sort of a man and said clear off and we said we found a hand grenade that has its pin pulled half way through and so he went and got an officer who came down and he said can you show me where it and we said yes.  We jumped into the army vehicle which was a grand affair for a young boy and of we went.

We use to go at night-time and watch them because we thought that maybe one day we may have to go and do it.  We became quite knowledgeable about how to load a Bren gun, we knew everything about it, it was something to do. There was a scare one day when someone sighted a parachute on the Moors, just landing. When they did a quick check there was no British plane in the district so they assumed it was German.  The home-guard was called out and their sergeant who had been a sniper in the First World War and he would shoot anything that moved.  Anyway we followed them up to get this German but were told to ‘get away home.’  We got over the top and it wasn’t a parachute it was a barrage balloon that had broken lose from Newcastle and someone had seen the top going over.  When we knew it was a barrage balloon we went up and helped them get the gas out.  We had to climb on the top; it was like a bouncy castle.

Each village had its own Red Cross club formed; if you can call it that and my mum was a member and they wanted more women to join.  I was used as a dummy and the doctor would show them how to put a sling on, do knots and lots of things.  The women had to have a test, a written test, and my mum would ask me what to do if an arm was broken and I would say this and that to her.  Anyway she passed.

Um, one day the air raid warden came along just after lunch, telling everybody to get into the house and stay there, because he said there’s 200 German planes flying from North to South and they would be over all our area and don’t come out till he gave the word.  Well I thought I must see these and I went to the door and my mum kept telling me to come in.  Eventually I got out and heard the planes but never saw them. Weather was bad.  I wondered about these planes and why they were coming from the north when Germany was East and flying south. They got it wrong somewhere.  My eldest son was up on Thursday and I explained to him about this and that I didn’t even know the date it was on.  So he got the internet and eventually found out that it was the 15th August 1940 and just after lunch.  Now that day was called ‘black Britain’ and it was called that because of the quantity of planes up fighting them and coming from other directions.  There was 1000 enemy planes, 144 were shot down and 27 British fighters were were lost. But it was a big event for the airfields in the north [and] for the fighters because they didn’t have a great lot to do because most of the bombing was at the south. So, when this happened, and these German planes flew in their area, they had a lot of work to do. But, the reason they were flying from the north [was] because they came from Norway – they were stationed in Norway and flew down. Apparently, on the internet, it said most of the bombs were dropped in the sea.

Now then, from our house, when you looked out of the window, you could see Consett steelworks. We couldn’t see Newcastle because obviously there was a hill and Newcastle was below. But when the air raid siren went, we could hear everything: we could hear the bombs, the anti-aircraft guns; the searchlights we could see looking for aircraft. So, as a young boy, when I was in my bedroom, I would take the blackout down but I made sure there was no lights and I could see all [of] this happening.

And then, one night, I took the blackout down, just leaning on the window, and there was three most biggest explosions. And what it was, they had dropped two bombs on Shotley Bridge – one was an oil bomb and another one to ignite it (to light it up you see). What a fright I got.

The siren was easy to hear because it, I think, was in Consett steelworks. And I think it was operated by steam. So, it was a terrific noise right the way up the valleys, which was quite easy to hear, but there was often a lot of these air raids at Newcastle.

One week, we got to know the local policeman at Edmundbyers and the family, but they had to move to Durham because he got a job as a sergeant in the police in Durham. However, they invited my mother and brother and I for a week’s holiday, which was quite good of them. We went down. I think it would be the first night [that] the siren went. So, being in the centre of Durham, you couldn’t sort of dig the garden and put a shelter up or anything so they had a big steel table that they used for dining on, but also it was an air raid shelter – you just got underneath. Apparently, the table is the safest place in the house if it collapses or anything happens; it’ll all fall over but you’re still [underneath]. So we were all packed in under the table, and the lady of the house kept going out and looking up at the viaduct that goes right over Durham. And I think my mother said ‘what is it?’ And she says, ‘well, if the Germans are going to bomb, that’s what they are going to hit – that viaduct – because it’ll break the line from London to Newcastle’.

However, nothing happened.

There were some very severe snowstorms in that period. Different to what it is now. And I remember Edmundbyers was cut off… altogether. And [there was] no chance of anybody getting anything at Consett or anywhere, except one ex-naval man walked all the way to Shotley Bridge and back, and brought a big bag of yeast for the women to make the bread, so that was quite good.

Now then, we were still cut off for a week afterwards, so they sent 200 soldiers to come and dig out the road so that we could get out, but all they had was a trench shovel, so you can imagine going along through the snow and… [laughs, imitating shovelling], but, anyway, they succeeded.

Working on the farms in the summer, I had another uncle, [who] had a farm, and I used to have to go and help him with his hay; I used to stand on the pike again, build it, and he would fork it up. I always remember tea time in those days; tea was brought out and you just sat down and had a ‘picnic tea’ (as you might say), but his wife had caraway seeds in everything and I used to think ‘oh, lovely tea cakes, but caraway seeds…’ [laughs]. Anyway, I stuck it out…

On a Sunday night, we used to listen to the radio. And what was on every Sunday night was all the national anthems of the countries that the Germans had overtaken, and then it always finished with the British national anthem at the finish. I think we would listen to it nearly every Sunday night.

My brother helped a farmer a little bit and he was only 9 years [old] then, and he used to drive a little tractor for the farmer; it was what you called an Allis-Chalmers. It was a very small Allis-Chalmers tractor. He drove the tractor for them and quite enjoyed it, I think.

Now then, my most frightening experience…

As a young boy, I was just playing this summer day and I wondered out of the village. I don’t know what I was looking for. As you go into Edmundbyers there’s like a ‘cut in’ [valley], so that you can’t see that side or the hill [that] goes up, and you couldn’t see Edmundbyers. I just sat on the bankside when this car pulled up. Now there was only one man [who] had a car in the village. He was a businessman. I knew him. I didn’t know where this car had come from. I’ve got it on my iPad – the particular car. It was an Austin 18, 1939. Big car. It pulled up and the man wound the window down and, in broken German, said to me ‘is this the right road to Shotley Bridge?’ And of course, I said ‘yes’.

That was a mistake; you should never have told people. But I was so frightened. If he’d have been English, I would have said, well, you know…

So, anyway, when he spoke in German, broken, I thought, ‘oh, dear, what have I done’. And I thought, ‘why didn’t he stop at the village police house and ask them, or anybody else’. And I assumed that he was a spy.

I’ve read just recently in those books [that] there were an awful lot of spies in Newcastle, Consett and that area at the time. He even looked like Himmler [laughs]; he had the horn-rimmed spectacles.

I went straight back to my mother and told her what I’d done. So she went to the warden and told him, and… I don’t know whether you watch Dad’s Army or not, but Mainwaring… he was just like that and as much as said ‘stupid boy’. So, anyway, that was it. Now, had he [the warden] phoned the police at Shotley Bridge, there was only one way in, they could have stopped him [the spy] and asked him who he was.

To this day, I don’t know [what happened next]. But that man’s face haunts me yet. And the car, I picked it out on the iPad there… on the old Austin cars. But nobody believes my story. No, [they think] I’ve just made it up. I haven’t. It’s up here.

But, afterwards, after he’d got to Shotley Bridge, I thought it could be something to do with the bombing of the steelworks at Consett, but not long after the Germans dropped incendiaries but they missed Consett. That’s my grandmother’s farm [pointing to a photograph] and on the moors, on the top, on the moors here, is where all [of] the incendiaries dropped and ignited all the moor, missing my grandmother’s farm here [but] all [of] this was on fire.

So, I assumed that he had given them information of Consett steelworks and that’s where they finished up – on there [pointing to the photograph].

My friend and I went up the next day to have a look around. In amongst the heather was the fins of a bomb with green paint on – I can remember. And it hadn’t gone off – apparently. It was about that [gesturing about a foot] much into the soil. I think the heather broke its fall. With the result, it was easy to get out, so we pulled it out [laughs] and took it to my friend’s father, who was the warden, and I don’t know what they did with it… probably gave it to the army to explode or whatever.

After that, as I was nearing 14, we moved up to Wark here as my mother got a job still on the same estate down here, and she got a free cottage, which was a way up in the woods, so that helped; there was no rent to pay, and she was paid so much in wages.

I got a job when I was 14 in the gardens – the big gardens. We were mainly growing vegetables, apples and – you name it. There was a big fruit and veg shop in Wark – and grocers – and they used to buy everything from the gardens so that there was fresh fruit and vegetables. We even grew peaches, nectarines and… they didn’t sell many of the vines; they used a lot of them themselves. But, Apples… [they sold]. I used to take them along, sometimes pick a small sack of sprouts and [throw it] onto my shoulder, and catch the bus up on the road, and then take it along to Wark. But I’ll always remember when any new tomatoes came in… I’d just got into the shop and all of the girls that worked there said ‘I want so many of those. I want these.’ So they’d never reach the shelf. But they would be paid for.

I was still going to the school at Wark for a little bit before I started work, but the headmaster’s wife used to do meals for the school; she cooked them and you paid a small amount of money every week, and you got your meal. There were school gardens as well, and another chap and I – another boy and I – got the job of doing the garden work, so we were busy doing garden work; we had to carry the food down and the cans back. And then there was a little bit of time left for lessons.

The first house we lived in – this is the third house – the first house had no electric, but there was a water tap at the back, which was alright; it wasn’t very big, but we managed alright. But then there was another house on the hilltop that had electric, so my mother asked, ‘could we have that one?’ ‘Yes, you can have that one… but no water’. The water supply was a well that was two fields – roughly half a mile – away, and you had to go up and down a steep bank. What they did was that you had two buckets and a square about a meter (across). When you got your buckets full of water, you turned the square until it was, sort of, diagonal, and put the two sharp edges on top of the bucket, and you’ve got the handles, and when you pull it, it locks, so you’re carrying them like this. The weight appeared to be half of what it was carrying it down here [at arm’s length], but two big pails of water would last more than, probably, two days just drinking the water. The other water was collected by the rainwater in a huge tank, which was on the end of the house. Now, I only really remember it running dry once.

I used to work on the farm estate at nights and weekends. And, at 14, the farm manager said, ‘there’s a field quite a distance away [that] needs to be disked; go and drive the tractor’. So, he took me down, and we got onto this old Fordson tractor. The discs were… they were a whole lot of big steel discs, and they cut the soil up as they go down. So, then he left me on the way to the farm up at Consteel. I was driving down, and looking back and thinking ‘oh, this is powerful and it’s…’ I’m pulling this, and this… so I was watching this way [backwards] instead of in front.

When – all of a sudden – there was such ‘Ping! Ping!’.

What I’d done was… I’d driven through into the wire fence with the front of the tractor. But to get out… there was no forklifts to lift it up, and I had to just [pull, pull, pull], until I’d got it back out again. And then l finished the field.

After the house with no water, we moved down here. But, in those days, if you wanted a bath, someone had to book it later on at night after everybody had gone to bed, because you had to have your bath in front of the fire and fill it with the hot water, so you were limited.

Wark had a Home Guard when I got here – and Simonburn along the road. This is really Simonburn parish. Someone got the idea that one summer night it would be a good idea to have a boxing match between Simonburn and Wark. And so, there’s a field just as you’re going into Wark, and the bankside is all sort of, like, a theatre, and the villagers and everybody sat around there, and the boxing booth was down in the bottom.

Well, imagine two villagers…

When it started, the Marquess of Queensberry rules were thrown out of the window, and it was alright to hit a man if he was even sitting on the canvas – which did happen; one of the Simonburn men hit one of the Wark ones on the canvas, and his brother said to him, ‘well, if I was you, I wouldn’t show my face in Wark anymore’. But, it was hilarious.

There were also dances in the village, quite often, or something, to raise money for… well, they used to call it ‘Spitfire Week’, ‘Corvette Week’, and all the money went towards that.

I think that’s as far as I’ve got.

That’s great.

Is there anything else you want to… any other questions?

I think you’ve pretty much covered all the topics I was going to ask about.

Apparently, the bombing of Tyneside is in, I think, one of these books. They did very little bombing of industries like shipyards. They were bombed, and they never touched Consett [Steel] Works other than maybe trying when these bombs fell round near my grandmothers, but I often wondered if it was that, maybe, if the Germans did take over Britain they would still want somewhere where they could carry on and really, it was the shortest route from Germany, northern Germany, to Newcastle as it is going across to Coventry and all those places where they bombed and bombed. So there was a reason that they avoided Tyneside, but they did bomb because we could hear them at night at (Edmund  barracks….. ). But once I moved up here we never heard a siren, never heard bombs, it was just you knew the war was on but that was it. So, thats it.

VE Day. There’s a photograph of me at school at Edmondbyers.

What age were you then, in ’39?

I was ten. I was born in ’29. And that’s my mother’s ration book. And that is one of me in the army.

When is that?

’48. It was still sort of wartime billets and everything. I remember I took ill, I got this, students can pick it up and in barracks and things, severe meningitis. And I remember when I woke up in the morning I felt absolutely awful and the lads kept saying to me you’ll have to get up and go on parade or you’ll be locked up. I said I couldn’t care less, I can’t get out of bed. I was in a state. So anyway the medical officer came straight away and I was taken away to a military hospital. Colchester I think. It wasn’t easy, I was ill. But I managed to get a little bit of food down after one or two days and after a week the sergeant came and said, right, clean this floor. It was, sort of like a type of flooring, we use to call it oil cloth, but it wasn’t, that type and he said there’s a tin of polish and pop the polish on and get this big mop and push it back and forth but I’d never had anything to eat for a week, so I got a start and the sweat was coming from me so I sat on the bed when in walked the sergeant….  The swearing I got! I wouldn’t like to repeat it when there’s a camera. And eventually I got back to the camp but I didn’t do any work there. I just wandered around for two or three weeks. But the main nurse said that I was lucky to be alive. He said you were lucky to have survived it. But when I got back to the camp all the lads said that after you left they had to come and fumigate the billet and the smell was terrific! I said well I can’t help it…. So (looking at a photograph), that was VE day at Wark. The celebrations, these troops were camped, that are dancing, were along at Gunnerton and that is me right on the edge there.

So there was… I don’t know whether you recognise anybody else but there was big celebrations, there was probably a dance at night, so it was something to celebrate.

There was some occasion at (Wark???? ), one of these fundraising efforts and there was no oranges or bananas at the time and I remember the raffle was one orange and one of the soldiers had managed to bring it back so that was the raffle. So I remember buying a ticket and I thought if I won it I’d give it to my mother. But I didn’t, didn’t win the orange. And these are the splints that the Home Guard used. This one was for the leg and this one was for the arm. Made from….?  (video ends 6.52)

On the Canadian pine which was an old wood. It must be a hard wood because there is no wood worm had ever attacked it.

I think that’s it.

This had nothing to do with it so you can switch off.

We were all asked to take in evacuees, now the house we lived in was 2 bedrooms but very small and they came around with this family from Byker, a mother and 2 sons and there was my mother myself and brother.  What we had to do was move from our bedroom and sleep in with our mother and I suppose vice versa these other two but they were very rough these evacuees and they had no idea of the countryside.  These 2 boys, there was a field just in front of our house and they got into the field chased the sheep and chased and no matter how much telling of they just carried on.  To put it mildly things didnt work between this family and ours.  I dont know how they’d managed a cooking or where they got the money from or whether my mother had to but they only lasted a week and then they went back to Byker but it didnt seem to be fair because the people that were going round with these evacuees and allocating them to different houses they would come to a house, say 2 or 3 bedrooms and a mother and daughter would be put in but you can imagine the mother and the daughter with the little ringlets you know everything and so they were put in with better class and thats how it went on but it didnt work… not in our house anyway.

Interview ends….

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