WARTIME MEMORIES OF FERRYBRIDGE
looking back to a 'wartime' childhood in Ferrybridge and being too young,
then, to realise the implications of war, all I have are very happy
memories of that time.
Ferrybridge Infants School at almost 5 years old and sitting in classrooms
heated with open fires, how cheerful it used to be. My favourite teacher
used to be a Mrs. Alker, who used to cycle down from Townville wearing a
flowing black mackintosh and black hat. She was always full of new ideas
and made schoolwork so exciting. Many of my contemporaries in Ferrybridge
will remember her.
teacher, Miss Josie Burns, left the school and went to be an actress and
did very well. I also remember being given a gas mask and going into the
underground school shelters for practice ‘air raids’. To us children
this was a great adventure and we enjoyed it! We also had our own Anderson
shelter in our own garden, built by my Father, the late Sowler Burton.
When the warning siren sounded we used to get up in the night and go into
that dark damp den till the all clear sounded. I remember planting
marigolds all over the outside soil which covered the shelter.
Father was also in Ferrybridge Home Guard and I used to polish the buttons
on his uniform. I think either Mr. Eckles (Mens Hairdressers in
Ferrybridge) or Mr. Blower were in charge. If anyone has any information
about Ferrybridge Home Guard, I would love to hear from them.
kept hens in our garden for eggs and a few cockerels for Christmas fare.
People used to ‘swap’ different products with each other. One snowy
winter's night a fox got in and killed all four cockerels - about two
weeks before Christmas, but could not get them out of the pen to take with
him. Christmas was early that year!
treat at school was Christmas parties. We used to have Father Christmas,
looking suspiciously like the Caretaker, Mr. Wright. We were served
sandwiches and cakes and huge dishes of pink ‘junket’. I have not
heard of anyone eating junket these days; it was a little like blancmange.
those war years we nearly all attended Sunday School in the Mission Room.
My teacher was Joannie Hansom and she used to give us a lovely stamp each
week to stick in our attendance book, depicting a beautiful picture of
some bible story. These used to fascinate me, as did the large pictures on
the Mission Room walls, in particular the one ‘The Light of the World’
and ‘Suffer Little Children to come unto Me’. Whatever happened to
these pictures .... ?
also remember huge convoys of army lorries going by my house which was
right next to the ‘Great North Road’. Sometimes American soldiers went
by in convoy and threw us packets of chewing gum. Sweets were rarely seen
in those days.
day I saw one of our neighbours running up to our house shouting,
your Mother the war is over!"
was very excited and we all went into the Square that night and there was
lots of dancing and celebrating. It has been said that wartime children
were ‘deprived’... Deprived of what? I have no memory of being
deprived of anything that mattered. Having no holiday, no sweets and very
little fruit and only having one doll and teddy (I still have the
teddybear). I sometimes wonder whether today's children do not have far
too much and are still not as happy and carefree as we wartime children
Memories of Wartime in Ferrybridge