North Walsham & District Community Archive

World War II Letter from Frances in North Walsham

This isn't from the press but it seemed like the best section to add this into for now. A letter sent from Frances to her Dad on 24th June 1940 from North Walsham. Thank you to Helen Eales for contributing this.

Yarmouth Road,
24 - 6 - 40.

Dear Daddy,
Well I'm just alive to be able to write to you. I suppose Mummy has you what a narrow shave we had to being one of the casualties of this War. It was not a very pleasant experience and I hope that we will never have any bombs fall quite as close again. I wasn't really frightened actually I was too stunned to know what I was doing except that I had to get to the Air Raid Shelter as soon as possible. We didn't hear the Warning, so the planes were over us before we had time to get out of bed. I didn't(think) get out of bed until I heard the Anti-Aircraft fire and then I don't think that I have got out of bed so quickly in all my life and I'm sure I'll never get out so quickly as long as I live, I just shot out of bed as though the guns were behind me not the plane. Before I had time to get any clothes on I heard suph a whizz and a whistle, and then I don't know whether I saw the explosion first, or the crash or whether they were both at the same time, only before I knew what had happened I was knocked to the other side of the room. I had been near the open window, trying to find my skirt or my shoes..! can't remember which, only after I had hit the wall the other side of the room, I was so dazed, l can only remember that I finished pulling on some clothes, and then made a dash for the shelter. I didn't get there first though, Gwen was quicker than I, and was already sitting down when I arrived there, with David in front of me. Mummy came in last as she stopped to pick up her case and several other things. After we had been down long enough to get thoroughly cold, Mummy went back in one of the lulls and got some blankets and a drink. She wasn't long, only to us waiting down there in the safe and her up there, it seemed ages to us. What would we have done without her, I don't know, because when we came out and went indoors after three or four hours, she turned round and made us a drink just as though nothing had happened, She really is a brick and I'm sure that there is not a woman in England who could behave more cooly in a raid as she was as cool as possible all the time. Infact I think that we were all very good as none of us bothered much about it, and people in town who heard about us, (and nearly all have seem to be much more worried over us than we are ourselves!!) Poor Mrs Thompson in the shoemenders is just a bundle of nerves and I'm sure that if a bomb had dropped ten times as far away from her as it did from us, she would have died on the spot. Grandad is thoroughly enjoying all this and said yesterday that nothing will make him go away from all this excitement. He was up at 7a.m Saturday morning and over the field and gates to see what had been done, lie almost vaulted the gates and alter he had got overone he turned round and asked me if l could manage to get over, just as though Iwas 81, and he was 20. Well for the last two nights we have had an unbroken nights sleep , and I hppe we will tonight, only I doubt it as the weather is lovely now. All day it's been very cloudy, only now that evening has come on, the sun is shining beautifully so I supposed at 11-50 P.M we will be raked out of our beds by the wail of the siren, and beleive me, I'll get out as soon as I know about a raid, as I'm not going to be caught in bed a second time if I can help it, and I don't think the others are either.
It's now about 8-25 pm. so I've got about another tto workbefore I leave off. fortunately I have only to work one night a week until just after 9-15 P.M. All the other nights I have to myself. Tomorrow I'm going to tennis, and Wednesday I'm going to the pictures to see "French Without Tears", Have you ever seen it? It's supposed to be a riot throughout I want Mummy to come and see it, only I don't know whether she will. Last Monday I wanted her to come to the flicks to see Deanna Durban in "first Love" only that was the day that the French asked for an Armistace and the news upset her so much, that she said that she couldn't face the pictures, only I'm sure that that film and the other one with it would have made her feel a lot better.
I'm sorry that this typing is so bad, only I'm sure that my writing would have been much worse, so you will have to overlook the mistakes, in any case it's very dark and I can hardly see a thing, though I don't want to put the light on as I'm so tired it would make my eyes ache and give me a headache, which I don't want if we have to get up at 11-50. If we do have to get up, and I remember, I'll put an X on the back of the envelope before I post it. Nearly everybody in the factory has left off now and only the men are left now and as Goulty said they were leaving shortly, I hope I will be able to as well. It's now about 8-50. so I don't mind when I am able to go. There is only one person in the offices now besides me, Mr Waters left about 3/4 hr ago.
The Men are just clocking off so I wonder how long I will have to work. The longer I work the longer this letter will be, as I have nothing much else to do, and what I have can wait until the morning. If I did all work in the evening, I'd have nothing to do when everybody can see me, so nobody knows what I do in the evening, I can just waste my time or clear up or do what I like and nobody is any the wiser. I usaally have a general clear-up and as I'm no tidier at work than I am at home, you can tell what a mess desk and office is in at the end of the week. Dotis is almost as bad, if not as bad, if not worse. so some one must do some tidying up sometimes
I can hear a plane in the distance, although I don't know whether it is British or not, yes it's ok I think It's one of ours. I'm still thinking about joining the Air Force. I went over to see Mr. Storey at Felmingham on Saturday and thier youngest daughter, Kathleen, has joined the W.A.F.F.S. She was 18 about a week or two ago. I can't join until the beginning of November as I won't be 18 till then, and by that time I hope to have a holiday from here, as well as a bonus. I won't leave until I have the latter at any rate!
Well I can hardly keep my eyes open, and there are still no signs of being able to leave off, so by the time I have finished here, this evening, I expect I will be fast asleep. I hope to see Gwen on the way home tonight as she gets home on the 9-6P.m. train.
David Manwaring came down to tea, yesterday that is after he had seen the bomb craters. There must have been thousands of people down there to see the craters, Sat, and Sunday. Grandad says it was like a fair ground, and I'm sure I don't know where all the people came from. It's usually so peaceful and quiet in the garden on a Sunday, but yesterday, in the bedrooms there was an insessant hum of voices and traffic from the road. Children screaming and boys and girls yelling. It's a thing that we hardly ever hear especially on Sundays. The only noise of yelling that we hear is from the soldiers at the S.L. Post. On the night of the raid, we heard such yelling from there, and, when we spoke to two of the men in the morning when we were looking at the crater, they said that they had been yelling because they had caught a German plane in their Beam. It was the first one that had been their way, and they were able to pick it up. They were really very good at their job. The best round this district I think. Don't let any Jerry see this letter as he'll know where the S.L.P. is if he does, although I think that they have a very good idea of it's position already.
Has Mummy told you about the lights yet? If not I expect she will when you come back. Nobody should know about it. We could tell that fronm the way the soldiers spoke. They must have known we knew about it, although they said nothing about it at all, as that is careless talk that will give away a vital secret I'm sure. Up to the present Sctw Ardrme hasn't been bombed, although the Air Raid Siren there was sounded for the first time on Friday evening. All the W.A.A.F.S. girls there screamed when they heard the bombs dropping. The bombs round there fell in some fields at Swanton or Skeyton, nobody seems to know which. The only casualty was one dead horse and one badly wounded.
The farmer is very cross though as all the sight-seers have trampled his corn field almost level with the ground. He has forbidden people to go there now. The bombs near us fell right on the edge of the corn field, and the other in the meadow, so nobody can do much damage to his crops, and even the bomb didn't do a great deal.
I've had the light on till now although it's just struck me that I must be careful because of the Black-out. I don't think it is B-O time yet, as it's only just after nine-fifteen. But I'm taking no risks. I'm sorry this paper has torn, but I'm in rather a hurry and this paper is very thin, so it tears easily, This is the second time that I have attempted this page. The first one got torn across in almost the same place, so I've had to do it all over again, so I'm very much afraid you will have to have a torn letter. Still I'm not wasting paper and it will help you when you go to tear it up. Well it's impossible to see what I'm doing and I can't see the keys now, so that is why there are all these mistakes. Now the paper has slipped. Everything seems to be going wrong now, so I had better say cheerio. Piles of love and kisses,


World War II Letter from North Walsham - 1940 World War II Letter from North Walsham - 1940 World War II Letter from North Walsham - 1940 World War II Letter from North Walsham - 1940