Tales of WW2: Michelle's story
Michelle’s father was at sea when the war broke out. He had no idea where he'd be stationed. Michelle was around age seven at the time.
Sadly her father was killed in Dunkirk where he was taken prisoner. To add to the family’s grief, the family home was bombed about two weeks later. The six of them were blown through the air raid shelter but escaped without injury.
Help from family
Their grandparents were based in Yorkshire. They were farmers and stepped in to help the family as much possible.
Michelle and her siblings were sent to various boarding schools, again with financial assistance from family members (grandparents and uncles). They returned home at weekends.
Michelle's mum was left with a small fixed income - soldiers’ pensions were not worked out or in place. Therefore, the family struggled with rations, had to rely on locally sourced vegetables, meat and eggs. Michelle explained how the family had to make a block of butter last all month.
"We were only allowed a little bit of butter every Sunday as a treat. We had to learn to make food last, make it go further and be very resourceful." Their grandfather would do his best to top up with rations for the family.
Michelle explained that children knew they had to run home or to the air raid shelter as soon as the sirens started sounding off at 4pm. "Everyone would run without hesitation. However, there was an additional threat of the ‘silent bombs’ as they could only be heard they they were about to drop. There were some real tragedies, such as homes being bombed and wedding plans shattered."
Michelle has a vivid memories of wedding dresses on display after homes were bombed.
Although this was a great tragedy, Michelle described life as exciting. Michelle and her siblings needed to learn to stick together and share things equally.
Michelle's outlook on life
Despite the apparent hardship, Michelle and her family had to endure. She has an amazing approach to life and her outlook is continuously positive.