There is much discussion of the traumatised children of the South of Israel and I remember asking my big sister Eddie about her memories of the heavy bombings of Cardiff during WW2 and asked if she was traumatised. It made me realise that the innate ability to improvise and adapt to all situations of the Brits during WW2 was nothing short of heroic.
Here is her response
This is just a quick one, but I will try to write down what I can remember…….
My main memories, funnily enough, are of feeling very secure. In my childish eyes, my Father could conquer the world, he was not a tall man, but physically so very strong. He always gave us the feeling, that as long as he was there, nothing could happen to us.
Dad built a bomb shelter, which was about 15 feet underground, and went from our garden under the wall behind, and came out into the neighbour’s garden, so that both families could get to the shelter easily. He built bunk beds along the walls, had heating installed, and had a stockpile of food and books, etc. Of course lots of toys for the children. He also set up a table with his equipment to make toy soldiers and cowboys etc. from a mould out of melted metal of some sort, then we could paint them !!
This was all between doing his stint in the Home Guard.
When I think back a very funny thing occurred to me …He built the entry down into the shelter at each end with old tram car staircases, winding metal, he always said “that way, no bomb could come in” We kids thought that so clever, and believed every word.
Other memories are of walking to school every day, with my gas mask over my shoulder (in a teddy bear case!!) a walk of about 2 miles, and being warned never to pick up anything from the ground that looked like a toy. The Germans dropped something called a Rattle bomb which looked like a toy, and until it was picked up… you can guess the rest.
My other warning was to stick to the main road and never cut through the local park, even if the other kids wanted to, as a large timebomb had fallen a few nights before, I remembered the night sky lit up by the flames, the result was this huge crater in the park. Of course, as I didn’t want to be the scaredy-cat of the school, I had to walk home through the park to see what it was all about !!! I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. I arrived home with an armload of souvenirs. I had collected the tail ends of about 8 incendiary bomb shells. Mummy nearly fainted, by the time my parents had finished with me I decided it was easier to be a coward.
The kitchen in the house had a huge Anderson shelter, which was made of steel, and had room under it for about 6 to 8 people in a dire emergency, if we didn’t have time to run across the garden.
I can still hear the noise those awful German planes made.
There was also the day my Mum called her parents who lived in London, and their phone rang and rang, and Mummy was hysterical, as London had received heavy bombing the night before. Anyway eventually, someone answered the phone whose voice she didn’t recognise, to be told that the phone was still working, but the house had been bombed. Thank G-d my Grandparents were in a shelter, and were fine.