Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Remembering the War Years.

I was born during the 2nd World War and occasionally still have nightmares of the sound of the enemy aircraft overhead during the night but that is as bad as it ever got for me. A few bombs landed on our fields as we were pretty close to a big bomb store near Milnathort, just across the loch from us, which was a prime target. We were left with quite a few huge craters in the fields as the ground was very mossy and the bombs still hadn't exploded. My mother used to tell us how father would go out to listen to the aircraft. Those of The Allies had a different sound to the German bombers. At night all the house window shutters had to be closed securely before the lamps were lit and any cars had hooded headlights, although these were already pitifully dim!

Prisoners of War were brought to the farm to help with the farmwork with most of them staying in a camp farther round the loch. There was one POW whom I remember lived in the house with us. He was an Italian called Joss, but I think his name would be Guiseppe (so maybe it should have been Guis!) By all accounts he was very strong and a good worker, well liked by my parents. He said he was a peasant farmer back in Italy, had no idea what the war was all about and just wished he was back home with his wife and family.

He made toys for us small children. One was a sort of wooden bat like a table tennis bat with small carved chickens attached which, when shaken, seemed to be pecking for food, and the other was a pair of sticks with a jointed wooden monkey attached near the end by a network of strings. When the other end was squeezed in the hand the monkey did some acrobatic manoeuvres. These were played with a lot, as toys were pretty much in short supply in those days. I have no idea what ever happened to these things. I wished we had taken better care of them.

At this time, younger brother Jack, was learning to walk and Joss made a baby walker from an old wooden toilet seat padded and covered with material from on old overcoat and with struts from broomshafts and castors from something or other. He loved us "bambinos" so we were told. Some of the other POWs weren't so amiable, understandably, and some, downright frightened my mother. I wonder what ever happened to Joss.


Gail said...

Maybe someone that reads this post will know him, wouldn't that be wonderful?

Hildred and Charles said...

An interesting story, and very indicative of the good to be found in most people (there are exceptions...)

Sallie said...

I really did love your memory post. (I thought I'd posted on this yesterday, but must have lost it.) It's so important not to lose memories such as yours. I grew up during WWII also, and my dad was in the Navy. But it was just a vague concept to kids over here. Thank you for sharing your story.
And for visiting my blog as well.