Remembering World War II in North East; AS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE START OF THE WAR NEARS, A NEW BOOK GATHERS MEMORIES.
SAnd this momentous day in history - 77 years ago - is just one of the many episodes featured in a book by Newcastle author Andrew Clark.
He has been researching and interviewing people about their wartime experiences for over ten years and has just published a new edition of his book: Wartime Memories - Stories of the Second World War in the North East.
Explaining how he came to write this latest volume, Andrew says: "Over the years I have asked many people 'What did you do in the war?' and included in the book are some of their memories. It has been a pleasure to listen to their stories and record them. I think it's important that these stories are not forgotten and are passed on to future generations.
"Although the Second World War ended over seventy years ago, many people I speak to about that time have vivid recollections of their experiences of evacuation, the Home Guard, air raids, rationing and VE Day.
"Many of those sharing their memories were children at the time of the war but the fact that they were a part - in their own small way - of global events has made a lasting impression on them."
The book Wartime Memories includes a number of stories from people who remember the day war was declared.
Andrew says: "The main form of mass communication before the Second World War was the radio - or 'wireless' as most people called it. People crowded around the wireless on Sunday, 3rd September, 1939 to hear Neville Chamberlain make the announcement that the 'country is at war with Germany'.
"Across the country, straight after Chamberlain had made his speech, air raid sirens sounded. This created panic in parts of the North East and some people recall being terrified. Younger children thought the sound of the sirens meant the Germans were coming straight away.
"The preparations for war now increased. Air raid shelters were built and children, pregnant women and the disabled were evacuated from towns and cities.
"When the war started it was expected towns and cities would soon be heavily bombed and there would be thousands of casualties.
"The Government immediately organised 'Operation Pied Piper' - the perfect title for an operation that was to take away Across the straight Chamberlain his speech, sirens Andrew the children from the threatened danger.
"It was not compulsory for parents to send their children to the country, but most families thought it was best that they went.
"Children from Newcastle were mostly sent to what is now Cumbria; Wallsend and North Shields children went to Northumberland; while those from Gateshead, South Shields and Sunderland were evacuated to safer parts of County Durham and Yorkshire."
" Andrew adds: "Can you imagine today giving up your children to complete strangers, possibly for years?country after made air raid sounded Clark "The evacuees were often taken to a church or village hall where they would be picked out by families who would take them home. It is said that bonny bairns would be picked first, or a strong lad if there was work to be done - on farms ,for example. If a family had all lads they might want a girl or if there was all girls at home they would pick a boy. " This new volume of 'Wartime Memories' contains extra illustrations and stories of gas masks, the Home Guard, air raid shelters, the black-out and rationing. Alongside people's memories there are unique old photographs as well as wartime memorabilia - identity cards, ration books, propaganda posters and public information leaflets. A number of photographs show local people celebrating VE Day.
|The book Wartime Memories - Stories of the Second World War in the North East, by Andrew Clark, Summerhill Books, is on sale at Backpage bookshop in Newcastle; Hand Picked in the MetroCentre; Precious Moments, Cramlington; and from www.summerhillbooks.co.uk
and cities heavily Gateshead, Sunderland safer parts Durham a hall Across the country straight after Chamberlain made his speech, air raid sirens sounded Andrew Clark