Geoff Remembers

Life during the Second World War 1939-45

Interview with Geoff Glentworth, age 77


Where did you live as a child?

When I was a child I lived in Brigg on Woodbine Avenue. The house was a three bedroom semi detached council house, with an inside toilet. There was no double glazing or central heating in those days. I shared the house with my Mum and Dad and my brother Norman. Norman and I shared a bedroom. My Dad worked at the sugar factory in Brigg and also had to do fire watch duty. My Dad fought in the First World War so when Churchill declared war with Germany it worried my Dad. When the sirens first sounded my Dad shouted, “The beggers are here already” And then insisted we all got under the table. It was a frightening time.

What do you remember most about the Second World War?

My first memory was in 1939 listening to the wireless and hearing war been declared. I attended Glebe Road school and had two good friends called Mike and Geoff. Everywhere we went including school we had to take our gas masks with us. One day as we walked home from school the sirens went off, we were so frightened that we dived into a ditch and nearly crawled all the way home just incase any planes flew over. In our free time we used to play on the waste land and on Sundays we always had to go to church. One of the things we used to do was go to the cinema and if you collected scrap metal you were able to get into the cinema free. We would fine old pram frames or anything that was scrap metal. They used the scrap metal to go towards the war effort to make things like bullets and machinery which was needed in the war.

Did you see any German aircraft?

I never saw any German aircraft but you could hear them because they had a different engine sound to our planes.

How did you feel and where did you go when the sirens sounded?

I always felt frightened when the sirens went off. We always went into our neighbours Anderson Shelter which was in their back yard, it was small but at least we were all safe. We would wait until the all clear was sounded.

How did you manage to get around in the blackout?

When I was about ten years old I had a paper round, it was very hard to find my way around without lights. At home on a night my father made shutters to go over the windows so no light would escape and attract enemy aircraft.

How did food rationing affect you and your family?

It was hard for all of us we missed a lot of things. Bananas were no longer available as they had to be shipped over by sea and we didn’t get sweets and treats. We had to dig up gardens and school fields to plant and grow our own vegetables like potatoes and carrots. When mum went shopping she had to use a ration book. We were only allowed a certain amount of food and it had to last.

Did you have any family or friends who fought in the Second World War?

Your Grandma’s Dad fought in that war and thankfully came through it safely. Whilst he was fighting her Mum ran the grocery shop on Brooklands Avenue in Broughton with the help of Auntie Mary. I met your Grandma when I was 18 and she was 16. That’s another story!

When the war ended how did you celebrate?

When the war ended we all had a big street party in Woodbine Avenue , it was a great atmosphere and into the evening the lights were all on, no blackouts; it was great.

When victory was declared what changes can you remember?

I did not miss the sirens sounding and having to go into the shelters. It was good to have lights shining on a night. It took a long time for things to get back to normal. It wasn’t until a lot later that food increased and ration books were no longer required. Once again bananas arrived in Britain I remember there once was a bunch of bananas as top prize at a Whist Drive one evening. At the age of fourteen I left school and worked as and apprentice carpenter and at the age of twenty one I had to serve two years in the National Service most of that time was spent in Germany. .Here are some photographs of my time spent on National Service.