Alexian Brothers’ Residents Share Their WW2 Memories

Remembrance day is an important date in the calendar as it honours the heroic efforts, achievements and sacrifices that were made in past wars. Armistice Day is on 11 November each year but remembrance Sunday is celebrated on the second Sunday each November. The 11th of November marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, back in 1918.

The country observes a two-minute silence in remembrance of those who have died in the line of duty.

The poppy became a familiar emblem of remembrance day following the World War 1 poem, “In Flanders Fields”. The opening line of the poem begins, ‘In Flanders Fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses row on row’ this represents the flowers which bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War 1, the colour of them symbolising the blood which was spilled during the war.

HMT will observe a two-minute silence across all our hospitals and care homes in remembrance of those who have died during war and the men and women who are currently in the line of duty.

Some of the residents from Alexian Brothers Care Centre, which is managed by HMT, have taken the time to share their experiences of World War II with us. Many of them were small children at the time who witnessed the bombing of their towns and where evacuees.

Margaret remembers; I was 8 when I was evacuated to Bury with my sister Joan who was six at the time. My older sisters all went to work in the munition factories. My sister and I were all put into separate homes but we didn’t stay there long as we did not like it.

I remember one night we were in the air raid shelter, when we woke up there was water up to the top bunk where me and my sister were sleeping. There was panic because we thought that my sisters were under the water. They had actually gone to work, so we eventually saw the funny side of that.

On the way to school one day, we saw a German plane, you could see the pilot it was that low. We all lay on the floor; the plane flew over us and bombed AVRO, a plane manufacturer nearby.

Tom recalls; I lived on Gladstone Street in Middleton. I remember as a child, my family had our own air raid shelter in the garden that was made of Birch. I can remember how we all used to run when the siren went off, luckily we were not badly bombed.

My father was a member of the TA, we struggled with food because of rations. I went to St. Peter’s School and I can remember how we had to come out of the classroom quickly if the siren went off during school time. The gas masks that we had to take with us were suffocating if you had breathing problems.

Jack remembers; I was 7 years old when I was evacuated with my sister. We were lucky as we got to stay with our Auntie and Uncle in Preston. My father was a volunteer in the RAF as an electrician and mechanic. I have very strong memories of my dad coming up our street on his way home from work and I would go out to meet him.

Robert recalls; I was evacuated to Cleveleys with my sister, my brother who was 14 years old had to stay at home and work. These memories make me quite upset.

You can donate to the Poppy Appeal through the British Legion and watch coverage from Sunday’s Remembrance Service. If you are in any of our care homes or hospitals on the 11th November at 11am, please join us in observing a two-minute silence in remembrance.