Mrs Lindley’s Memories



SchoolAir-raidsBarrage balloonSheffield BlitzLand Girls


I lived in Rotherham – 6 miles east of Sheffield. My father taught Maths at the Boys’ Grammar School. We had a maid to help with the housework. We had a car (a Wolsley Hornet). He used it to go to school, to Mablethorpe on holiday and on lots of rides and picnics. So I lived a very sheltered existence with my parents and sister.



I took my scholarship in June 1939 and was looking forward to starting at the Girls’ High School in September. The school was closed for half a term. I was very disappointed.

We wore school uniform – bottle green tunics with box pleats and a square neck, white long-sleeved blouses, brown lisle stockings and brown shoes. We also had a pair of indoor shoes to change into when we got to school, as well as P.E. shoes etc.. In summer we wore light green cotton dresses with white collar and cuffs, and blazers. With our winter uniforms we wore a green gaberdine and a hat. All these clothes needed coupons so, of course, we had to wear them as long as possible – skirts were let down – tunics were worn even when you could see daylight through the edges of the box pleats! Dresses were made with different-coloured sleeves etc. – all sorts of ‘make-do-and-mend’ went on.



At school we had brick and concrete shelters. We never needed to use them. But we used to have to air-raid practices in the same way as schools have fire practices today.

The shelters were nearly hit on a daytime raid one August. Holidays were usually taken to the east coast, Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe, Skegness etc., but during the war we were not allowed to go to the east coast (I did go to Blackpool several times). So the Town Council organised ‘Holidays at Home’ in a big marquee in the park. One wet Saturday afternoon, a stray German bomber mistook it for an Army Camp – or so the story goes – and shed his load of bombs. There were no people about so nobody was hurt. He did leave 3 big holes!


A Barrage Balloon

We had a barrage balloon ‘stationed’ at the top of the road which provided a bit of interest – watching it go up and coming down. It didn’t go up in windy weather. They might have lost it!!

At home, we had the cellar re-inforced with timber-like pit-props and an emergency exit coming out by the front door-step. It was cosy down there with rugs on the stone floor and easy chairs. My sister and I sat playing ‘Battleships’. We weren’t upset at all. But I suppose my parents, who realized what could happen, were much more concerned. Even the dog came down in the cellar – he knew where he was safe!


Sheffield Blitz

A lot of the steelworks were situated between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Steel, Park and Tozer had 14 chimneys in a row – not far from the River Don – perfect markers for the German bombers on a clear night. The ‘blitz’ was on two

nights – a Thursday and a Sunday. On the Thursday – the centre of Sheffield – shops like C&A, Walsh’s etc., all went up. On the Sunday night the bombers ‘worked’ towards Rotherham. For some unknown reason (they’ve probably found out by now) the German bombers were re-called to base at midnight, so Rotherham escaped!

There were lots of other raids, of course – mostly incendiary bombs. The streets were patrolled by air-raid wardens, of course, and a rota for fire-watching was started. I know my mother did my father’s share when he was ill. It was very dark because of the black-out. We had blinds fitted in some rooms with wood ‘beading’ on hinges to keep the light in. In other rooms we had curtains, lined with black sateen material. My mother made me a ‘Red-Riding Hood’ cloak for me to wear at a Sunday School Concert. That same cloak has now turned up as Batman’s Cape some 55 years later! Things were certainly made to last!


Land Girls

About 1944 the school took groups of girls to ‘camp’ in a farmhouse somewhere in Lincolnshire. We were supposed to help the farmer. The week I went we were planting Brussel Sprouts. I bet none of them grew! I think we were more interested in the Italian POWs and the sight of bombers and RAF men!!