Ruth Glassman

"My war memories are very blurred as it was a long time ago and I was a very little girl.

I remember we lived in a house in Filey Road. We lived with my grandfather, my mothers widowed father, so that my mother could look after him. We lived on the ground floor and the basement level. The first floor was rented to a Mrs. Atkins and the top floor was rented to my fathers sister, Auntie Annie, her husband, Uncle Julie and son Roy.

We had an Anderson shelter in the garden and also a reinforced table (Morrison shelter) in the sitting room in the basement that was thought to be the safest part of the house. The Morrison shelter was bought because I was very frightened to go into the Anderson shelter and I can remember my father (grandpa 80 as my grandchildren called him) used to cuddle me under the table and my mother went into the Anderson shelter with the rest of the occupants of the house.

My father and Uncle Julie became fire watchers through the night. They reported where a bomb had landed and sent the fire fighters to that location. My dad worked in a factory owned by my Uncle Myer during the day that made sand bags which was classed as war work.

I can't remember the sequence of my experiences but I can remember being sent away with the school, being very unhappy and phoning my uncle Myer, my mothers brother who lived in Brighton to tell him I wanted to go home. My parents didn’t have a phone and Uncle Myer sent my parents a telegram and Dad came and collected me. I was evacuated with my mother to Hemel Hempstead and we stayed there for several months living in one room until I had an accident and fell in the fire. My mother took my home to Filey Road without even waiting for my father to help her with the move. My grandfather must of died at some time but I don’t remember dates. I was then sent to live with my Uncle Myer and Auntie Eva in Brighton. I was taken to Brighton in a lorry belonging to my Uncle Myer and it was a great adventure. My parents continued to live in Filey Road and my sister Nina was born while I was in Brighton.

I can remember one evening my Uncle and Aunt told me that my parents house had been bombed and that my parents and baby sister, who I hardly knew, were on their way to Brighton. I was delighted that my parents were coming and I was allowed to stay up late to see them. My mother was alone in the house in Filey Road when a bomb hit the house. It was lucky she went under the stairs with my baby sister as the only part of the house left standing was the staircase!

We then lived in a house in Montpelier Street in Brighton until we could move back to London but could not return to our own house as it had been requisitioned by the government and other people were living in it at a peppercorn rent although my parents were liable for any repairs. We moved into a flat in Rookwood Road. My parents thought that it would be temporary until they got their own house back, but when it was derequisitioned it was very dilapidated so my parents sold it and we continued to live in Rookwood Road .

While we were in Brighton I remember American soldiers knocking on the door and as they were American family or sent by family members my parents had them stay and often gave their bed to the visitors who came bearing gifts of food and luxuries.

I remember when the war was over and the barbed wire on Brighton promenade, that was part of the war defences, was removed my cousin Leonard and I were taken to the sea front by Marion, my Aunt and Uncles maid, and we managed to loose her in the crowds on the promenade. We certainly upset her!

I can't remember being short of food because I didn't know what I was missing. I had only tasted fruit that was grown in the garden, i.e. apples, pears, plums. I never tasted a banana until the war was over and sweets that the American soldiers brought were the only sweets I knew. They also brought chewing gum and bubble gum which I thought were wonderful and I was able to blow large bubbles much to my mothers disgust!

I also remember I had milk at school. Every child was given a half pint bottle of milk with a straw each morning and some of us were given a spoonful of malt if we needed it. I remember it was really nice and I looked forward to receiving it."