Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Weird war for youngsters

Toddler in peacetime
Then schoolboy when the bombs fell
But we had free milk

Food was very scarce
Everything was rationed then
Except mothers love

Kids ran wild and free
Bus to school and Ma to work
Dad in London town

His job was great fun
Dowsing incendiary bombs
Dropped by enemy

Eyes on the skies 
Looking for the hostile planes
No that's one of ours

Empty grocers shelves
Food was short and so was I
Cold damp bomb shelters

Wrapped up in blankets
Waiting for all clear signal
Let's get back to bed

Wrote childish scrawl note
To uncle in Italy
Cheered him up he said

Another aunt sad
This uncle's not coming home
So she cried a lot 

All kids at school fence
Army trucks and tanks pass by
Heading for the coast

Us kids played in the fields
Doodlebug flew overhead
Good it has flown on

The tide was turning
We found out how bad it was
For millions more

We all cheered at last
For peace was finally here
Weird war for youngsters

I started school in 1941 quite unaware of life in peacetime so I have here tried to show my memories and feelings of wartime Britain, the planes, the soldiers, the tanks, the shortages, the rationing, the fear and the tears for I was only nine when the Second World War ended in 1945. Despite that I am getting old and forgetful but I do still remember my wartime National Registration Identity number DLMI 30/4! That is weird but at least is was not a tattoo!

Image 1 found at
Image 2 found at


  1. Good job with this. We met up with cousins in Emden Germany who told of going to the bunkers when the sirens sounded. The entire city was destroyed except for the bunkers and two houses. The cousins had been sent to the grandparents in the country, and were safe.

  2. Very interesting and well written.A child copes with almost everything and accepts even war and privations as part of life...It's a sort of imprint that is part of you....a lot of sadness there too. At least your immediate family all survived.I like these autobiographical lived in interesting times.

  3. My mother can recall Duck and Cover drills from her school days. We didn't have those any more by the time I went to school, but the possibility of nuclear devastation was always a looming shadow for a Cold War kid.

  4. Thank you, for sharing this other side of reality with us...definitely sheds a new light on things.

  5. Everything was rationed then
    Except mothers love.... love that

    It is weird from a child's perspective. Thanks for the share.

  6. Such a heartfelt write. Thank you for sharing your memories -

  7. I guess all war is weird and for children even more so. Thank you for your memories here.

  8. The phrase, "but we had free milk," struck me here, Robin. I've not read you in quite a long while, and this is a great reintroduction to your writing. The title, echoed in the final stanza, is ironic and winning. Amy

  9. I like how these bits of memory tumble out and jumble together. I suspect a child in war may actually feel time passing in just so many blips.

  10. Wow, amazing memories.....have you seen the film Hope and Glory, about a boy and his family in London in wartime? Your poem makes me think of must be frightening for kids, bombs and bomb shelters............

  11. This is brilliant! a life unknown by many, the feelings, contridictions to understanding by adult and child. Now your points adding to the greater collective. This is invaluable.

  12. I suppose when we are child we know no different and have the capacity to make the best out of what we have..i remember those little bottles of milk..until the cold war! A tender glimpse back..and very glad it was a number not a tattoo..

  13. This is an amazing series of snapshots, dear Sir. And the tone is perfect--I can see the child in each word. Children see so much... without understanding the way adults do, but understanding nonetheless.

  14. I can't help but notice that the girls in the top photo are all relegated to the background. From a 21st-century perspective, that's weird!

  15. Beautiful...we relive the memories we made in our childhood!

  16. This is really lovely. How weird is our world, to have to go to war to buy peace

    much love...

  17. You made it very vivid through the child's eyes.

    I was born in 1939. Even in Tasmania, we had some awareness. Australia was very Anglophile in those days; some of the older generation (never having been there) still referred to Britain as 'home'. We had rationing, and loved ones away at the front, some of whom never returned – but at least were spared enemy planes and bombs.

  18. The pictures are telling so is the verse. You have chronicled the entire history of that time in so few words. And history is not just chronology of events, you see.....

  19. It's an amazing read! Thank you for sharing!!