War was declared on the third of September 1939. I became fourteen on the fifth of September and I had started my first job at Hudsons Steel Works on the seventh of September. On the third of September when War was declared I remember people coming out onto the streets and I remember all the women crying, weeping and wondering what was going on. And you know at that age, fourteen, thinking the War’s starting. And I remember at that they called it the Phoney War because here there was nothing happening, you know, no bombing, just as normal, nothing happened.
Yes, I remember we heard it, at something like about eleven o’clock in the morning. I had said for a long time, we’d never have War, because I didn’t think Germany would... They could rule the world with their knowledge of science and technology and finance and everything. They were the leading country in the world at the time. And I said, there’s no point in going to War, I was completely wrong in that. And I remember the day that we went to War... It was a bit of a shock for me, because I’d been so adamant that Germany wouldn’t go to War.
On the 3rd of September, I knew exactly where I was, at eleven o'clock. I was in St Edmund's church in Bolton with my Father, and the priest came into the pulpit and announced it had just been announced that we were at War with Germany. Well everyone in the church was absolutely... We knew it was coming but when it was actually told us, it was very, very upsetting really. Because, actually I thought it would be over in a few months, I never thought it was going to last so many years. But, anyway, now, I often think how on earth did we get through it, but we did.
When War was declared I was actually in Fletcher Street Barracks in Bolton, and everybody threw their caps in the air ‘Hooray!' because of the boredom of civvy life as it was then, and the poverty that we had, tremendous poverty, they had something to do. A lot of those men, by the way, finished up as Japanese Prisoners of War.
Yes, it was Sunday morning and the minister came and... well, someone came in and said that War had been declared and he announced it in Church. Delph Hill Methodist.
Well, actually, we cried because one of our gang, the boys, was already in the militia and we knew that he would have to go straightaway, and, you know, we knew what was going to happen. They were all going to have to go eventually, which they did. Although we had one or two conscientious objectors, who... well they went into non-combat services. They all did something, but we had two or three at our Church who were conscientious objectors.