A Conversation for Stories from World War Two

World War 11

Post 1

Tommy Mac

As I mentioned already ,I lived in a tenement building in the Cowcaddens area of Glasgow .
Three flights of stairs with three houses on each flight .
Now ,the entrance to the building was known as 'the common close' .Simply an entrance to the stairway leading to the floors .
The Government ,in its wisdom decided that the close entrances should be strengthened to prevent the building's collapse in the event of an explosion during an air raid .
So, to do this ,they erected a timber frame .Up the walls and along the roof, but in doing so they left a space due to the criss cross building of the beams .
As an adventure it was possible for boys like myself to crawl along between the beams and play at being spies . BUT!And such a big BUT! At the end of the 'close ' there was a landing with steps leading down to the rubbish bins . This was know to us a 'Dunny'. It was a wonderful place for courting couples,lets say 'doing their courting' as they were hidden away (as they thought ) from prying eyes .
We, however laying accross the beams could spy on them at our leisure .
But ,believe me ,if any of them caught us there, we would be in big trouble ,
. So we had to lay there and watch . Suffice to say. it was from this vantage point I received most of my sex education .The courting couples or 'winchers' as we called them taught me and my friends everything we know
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 2

Heyfrey

Tommy,I appauld your courage.I wasn't even alive during WW2,but to all those who were involved I hold tremendous respect. My late Grandfather was a Ranger in WW2, in the first wave on June 6th. As a student I would ask my Granfather about his experinces during that time but he would always refuse to speak about it. My Grandmother would explain that it was a terrible time for him. I could never really understand. I learned in school all about the bravery and comradery of soldiers in wartime and I thought that my Grandfather would be proud to tell of his adventures. It wasn't until I saw "Saving Private Ryan" some twenty years later that it all made sense. The first 20 minutes of the film explained it all. I can't imange the hell those men went through.It gave me a deeper resepct for my Grandfather. It makes me sad that I never got to tell him that now I understand. It reminds me of two famous quotes,"War is hell" & "There is no glory in dying". My thoughts are with you Tommy. Peace.


World War 11

Post 3

Tommy Mac

Hryfrey
As I said ,I lost my father for three whole years .
I know he was at Dunkirk,but when I asked him to tell me about it ,he just changed the subject and refused to talk about it .
So it must have been horrific.
There is a funny side to it though .
When he returned (he was a cook ,by the way) )he was posted to the village of Kilsyth, only about 10 miles from home and eventually was discharged and given a pension for :- of all things .an ulcerated stomach. So much for his cooking skills |smiley - smiley.
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 4

Tommy Mac

There were two air raid shelters built in our street ,in actual fact exactly 100 yards apart .
Just the ideal size for a football pitch. The outlines of the goals were painted on the ends of each shelter .
Many many great games were played on this make-shift football park.

Some park!!It was pure concrete ,but that did'nt bother us .
It was the first time we hadever had a marked off area to ourselves, and during these games all of the tenement windows were opened and the spectators hung over the window ledge to watch the matches ,all shouting encouragement or anything else they thought of to make the games more exciting.
For a great many people it was the only outdoor entertainment they ever got.Because , other than that ,there was only the cinema .
As for the shelters themselves, they were never used ,except maybe for courting couples or the odd homeless drunk.
You see,a rumour had spread all the way accross Glasgow that an air raid shelter in the heart of Glasgow had received a direct hit and that eveyone in the shelter had been killed .
So for this reason ,people were afraid to huddle into a brick shelter .
Some of the men had discovered that the tenements had foundations made simply of loose dirt and clay ,so they dug out all the dirt and we were left with fairly comfotable underground shelters .
Some women took to decorating these shelters and ended up making them like a little home from home .
Then after the war, they made great 'dens' for us still teenagers .
Tommy Mac



World War 11

Post 5

Tommy Mac

My mother's youngest sister Rose ,my Auntie Rosie was just a few years older than me .
When I was 12 she was just 15.
We were very close indeed, more like brother and sister than Aunt and Nephew .
We even 'palled' up with each other for a while, going to the cinema and such .I was the nephew nearest to her age .
Then Suddenly she disappeared!! Simply vanished off the face of the earth.
I could'nt find a trace of her. .No matter who I spoke to regarding her whereabouts ,I always got th same answer, 'you are too young to know and anyway it is a family matter'.
It was actually 16 years later, after my granny died that the story came out .
She had committed the worst of all sins at that time, SHE HAD GOTTEN HERSELF PREGNANT! And to an American sailor at that.For this she was dispatched away to 'The Black Isle' situated far, far away in the Western Highlands of Scotland .
Even at my granny's funeral ,my Auntie Rosie was not allowed to be present .
Therefore I have a cousin who's name I dont even know.
All I know is that she had a boy who will now be aged 56 and I have never met him .
As for my Auntie Rosie . I never did see her again .it may well be she is still alive and well ,but where? I have no idea .
One of the conequences of war I suppose.
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 6

Tommy Mac

Also ,at the mouth of every close they built what were known as 'baffle walls' .
They could not have named then better .
They were simply blocks of corrugated sheeting built about 7 feet high then filled with bricks and sand .
They were supposed to protect from the effects of a blast entering the close .

What they did'nt take into account was that they were an awful hazard in the black-out. People walking into them especially they had had a few drinks .Children running straight out of the closes right into these 'baffle walls '.
There were more people hurt from these structures than were ever hurt by bombing.
What with the black-out and all, it was impossible to see them until it was too late.Then BANG! another broken bone. One of the More disastrous devices ever though up by Defence Boffins.
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 7

Barneys Bucksaws

I have a similar story in my family, Tommy Mac. I'm missing a half-brother. Somewhere in England is my father's son, named for him, including our family name. All we know about him is he has Dad's name, he was born during the war, and he's an Anglican priest. Dad told me about him, and that my Mom nearly divorced him. He said if it hadn't been for my mom, he'd have stayed in England. I'd love to know him, but haven't enough information to begin to track him down.


World War 11

Post 8

Tommy Mac

Barney
May I wish you every success in your quest ? All I know is that it wasnt me smiley - smiley .
So many stories of abandoned children during the War .More often than not ,they were the children of American Servicemen ,
As the saying went at the time ,They were 'over paid,over sexed and over here.'
Good luck
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 9

Tommy Mac

Barney
And like yourself ,apart from my Auntie Rosie's son ,whom I have never seen ;I have been told I have yet another cousin, born to a girl way up North in the Highlands somewhere .
This cousin is a she, but with the same surname (McSorley) as myself ,born to a local girl and fathered by my Uncle (my Fathers brother)while serving in the Inverness area .But I must admit I have never sought her out.
Years ago , I had a letter published in our Sunday newspaper and this cousin was kind enough to write to me asking if I could supply her with information,
But the truth is; I didnt want to get involved.
Too many unanswerable questions you see.
This site may stir up some similar tales.
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 10

Barneys Bucksaws

Thank you. I keep on looking. Good luck with your McSorley relative! I'm wading through hundreds of Camerons trying to find my great-great grandfather. Its a challenge! Its like a combination of solving a mystery and a puzzle.


World War 11

Post 11

Tommy Mac

Barney
Those Camerons are everywhere smiley - smiley .I can even trace my own ancestry right back to the McDonald Clan , then through the Camerons and the Lamonts. All the way right back to Glencoe.
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 12

Barneys Bucksaws

I'm hoping to get back to Cullodin Moor. Family legend says we had an ancestor there - I just want to put a name to him. Isn't it fun? smiley - smiley


World War 11

Post 13

Tommy Mac

Barney
Indeed YES! Go back to Culloden Moor . Visit the battlefield and I'm sure you will come accross a great many Camerons .
I have been quite a few times .It has a very eerie atmosphere .
A lot of Mac Donalds are buried there too .
If you go to the Exhibition Centre at the start of the Moor you will find them most helpful in trying to re-trace your ancestry.
That is how I traced mine back to Mc Donald and Lamont .
Good luck !! Tommy Mac (My surname is Mc Sorley)
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 14

Barneys Bucksaws

My son was in Scotland a few years back and visited Culloden Moor. He said it gave him an eerie feeling to be near the Cameron cairn. He brought me a picture of it. One thing he was able to do that was great, was take a rose and put it on his Great-great-Grandfather's grave in Aberdeen. He joined the generations for a few minutes.


World War 11

Post 15

Tommy Mac

Barney
Nice story. I too have walked among the cairns and gravestones looking at the monuments .
It is a very strange feeling indeed to know that perhaps you are walking among the very fields where some of your ancestors gave their lives .
So many McDonalds ,it is hard to know which one is kin of yourself ,so it is best to treat them all with respect and perhaps say a little prayer over them .
I was conscripted into the Army at Fort George near Inverness in 1948 and it was from there I first learned of the commemorative stones and cairns which cover the battlefield .It can be quite spooky.
Tommy Mac


World War 11

Post 16

Trout Montague

Have you fellahs contributed here ...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ww2/

DMT


World War 11

Post 17

Barneys Bucksaws

Thank you for the link - that's going to be an awesome sight!


World War 11

Post 18

pedboy

Thank You very much for that link Dr. smiley - cheers


smiley - zen
smiley - towel

pedboy


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World War 11

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