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intro anne norman violet and lilian yvonne olive peter  
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norman on the trailNORMAN'S STORY

Norman is 85 and lives in Fulham.   

"When war broke out I was 19 years of age.  

I left work in central London on Friday, 1st September and was told not to report back until they wrote to me.

It was on a fine Sunday morning, 3rd September, 1939 at 11.15 am that War with Germany was declared. Within the hour the air raid sirens sounded.

Within about two weeks, the expected air-raids did not happen. I reported back to work and things carried on as normal. This was known as the "Phoney War" and it was not until Saturday 7 th September 1940 that the Blitz on London started.

Children had gas masks of a Mickey Mouse design and there was a special one for babies.

norman showing his ration bookFamilies with an annual income of not more than £230 per year (about £4.50 per week) were entitled to an Anderson Shelter. The cost otherwise was £7.

Outwardly in 1939 everything seemed normal. (I remember that in the June I went for a holiday to Blackpool). All homes and buildings had to be blacked out. The windows of buses and underground trains were covered with a netting material. In fact it was so dark that you could hardly see your fellow travellers.

I was called up in June 1940 and joined the Royal Corps of Signals and trained to be a wireless operator. They used the Morse Code in those days, it's not used any more.

I was in the Army for about 7 years in all. On the whole, it did me good. It taught me discipline and got me out of a rut. It brought me out in lots of ways and got me mixing with people more. I can remember when I joined up being highly embarrassed about having to undress to get into bed in front of other soldiers. We'd led such a sheltered life.

A lot of people liked the army because they got clothed and fed. They didn't have any worries.   You were never short of anyone to go out with of an evening.

One thing I really hated was firing a rifle. It took size 303 bullets, quite large bullets. The first time, I didn't know how much noise it would make. I did five shots and I never fired any more the whole time of the War. I would hate to have had to shoot anyone."

norman with the royal signal corps
No.3 Company, Royal Corps of Signals, Huddersfield, July 1940. Norman is circled.

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