Derbyshire’s unsung heroes – the children’s war

Children in gas masks

In the first two parts of this series, we heard the voices of those who served in the Armed Forces during World War Two and those at home who served in support of them, in factories, fields and mines. In this final part, Tom Blyth retells some childhood memories of the war years, as recorded by local author, Malcolm Cowper, in his new book ‘Derbyshire’s Unsung Heroes’.

CHILDREN MUST HAVE FOUND it very hard to understand what the war was all about. For some it meant being taken away from their parents and being sent to faraway places to live with complete strangers, who might or might not have treated them kindly. It meant fathers, brothers and sisters going away, often for years on end, sometimes never coming back. It meant hearing the terrifying wail of the air raid siren and rushing to the shelters, huddled together for hours as bombs crashed around them. It meant total darkness at night, blackout curtains, and gas masks…