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Wartime and the Blitz

Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII

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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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166 of 178  Thu 11th Aug 2016 2:26pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

Colcov. And would you remember that some days the blimps would be hovering over Coventry like a great shoal of silver fish, snub nosed facing into the wind. Occasionally they would shoot skywards, and I would shoot home before the 'moaning minnies' started and the guns barked. What a time we lived through.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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167 of 178  Wed 29th May 2019 3:12pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

August 1939, Coventry. We wait - war or peace? The governments have locked themselves in and continue exchanging letters, we no longer know what they are saying. Dad and I had a discussion about the duration if war came. Tension was running high, people seemed resigned that we would win if war came - almost cheerful in most households, soldiers were billeted on us. Sand everywhere - the weight of Coventry must be increasing! - the glare of paraffin arc-lamps as the frantic sand bag filling goes on through the night. Lorries, dust and smoke, petrol fumes. Cyclists, young couples, old men, stand and watch - discussions of the different kinds of explosions, and the protection from them. Young men, already in uniform, they are part of something, vital and important. Just call an office, sign your name and immediately you're somebody instead of nobody. Dad and I went for a walk across the fields. Out there in the quiet, if the heads of state walked in the open air in a big beautiful meadow, the countryside stretching around them, would they negotiate the difficulties peacefully? Last night we went to the pictures. When we came out, feared we had gone blind, it was pitch dark, not a street light, no lighted windows, tiny coloured crosses on the traffic lights. Cars had headlamps covered, using only side-lights. and police now wore steel helmets.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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168 of 178  Fri 31st May 2019 4:49pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

Sept 1939 Political events grew from day to day, and the day has come - 'We are at war'. Children have been evacuated, Barnbys toy shop in Corporation St already have a new huge toy across their window, a model of the Maginot Line section and toy soldiers, a lorry with a blimp attached. I would have bought one but dad said, "Tanks will simply go round them". Nurses are attending courses on gas casualties, great arguments as to where they should be treated, wounds first or gas? At what point to remove from contaminated stretchers, are dead to be decontaminated or kept from clean corpses, serious questions? But first, attend to the want of nature. Bleach paste was carried in gas mask box. All cinemas and theatres are closed in Britain. Two ships were sunk, just hours after declaration, sunk by torpedoes from U-boat - one ship, hundreds of Americans trying to escape the war. Gas masks were issued to everyone. Differing opinions on how and when they should be carried and worn. Tops of post-boxes painted with gas-detector paint, and frightening leaflets were issued about enemy planes dropping poisons. Income tax rose by almost 50%. The war was now under way.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Choirboy
Bicester
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169 of 178  Sun 17th Jan 2021 1:28am  
Member: Joined Nov 2020  Total posts:3

On 20th Apr 2016 7:37pm, Norman Conquest said: I said it was in shreds because local housewives nicked the balloon material. For what purpose I have no idea.
If it's not too late to add some explanation as to what happened to the barrage balloon material, I recall my mother made waterproof baby pants for me. I expect pvc and latex were too valuable commodities during the war to find their way into domestic use. Edited by member, 17th Jan 2021 1:47 am
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Helen F
Warrington
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170 of 178  Sun 17th Jan 2021 2:47pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2615

Hi Choirboy, welcome to the forum Wave Lovely bit of extra information about the balloon. It made me laugh thinking of your baby self having trouble moving in your new pants if the material was as stiff as it looked. I had an woollen arran sweater so durable that I could barely bend my arms. How ingenious of your Mum though.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Choirboy
Bicester
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171 of 178  Sun 17th Jan 2021 4:13pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2020  Total posts:3

It was in fact quite supple and lasted much longer than any of those pvc ones we used on my brood in the 1980's. I only remember because I used to dress my teddy in my old baby clothes, and no, I didn't have a dolly as well, that was my brother's. Blush lol. A quick search does not reveal any detail as to what material was used. I remember it being charcoal grey on one side and the other had a metallic sheen. A description of the dope used to repair holes is given at this BBC page that says it was highly poisonous. It is a wonder any of us from the 40's survived the good intentions of our parents never mind Hitler!
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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172 of 178  Mon 18th Jan 2021 10:55am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

Choirboy. The same dope we used on model airplanes, to tighten the fabric, smelt awful. Can’t remember the name.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Helen F
173 of 178  Mon 18th Jan 2021 11:02am  
Off-topic / chat  

Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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174 of 178  Mon 18th Jan 2021 12:59pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

Nope, I doubt it. What is missing in those reports is that the balloons brought down twice as many friendly fire aircraft as enemy, and in Coventry German planes flew below them often. Several letters to the CET but no reply, the general thought at that time was that they weren’t the defence we hoped for.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Choirboy
Bicester
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175 of 178  Mon 18th Jan 2021 6:07pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2020  Total posts:3

I can't add any more to the discussion except that I was told the cable from an errant balloon removed the tiles from houses a few hundred yards away from us near to the junction of Hocking Road and Oldham Avenue, Wyken. I have no Idea of the date.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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176 of 178  Tue 19th Jan 2021 11:57am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

Oh yes, Choirboy, the cables were lethal, about two inches dia of wire roughed up by dragging across the ground, at knots, could rip your leg in half. Yes, I saw what they were capable of.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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177 of 178  Tue 19th Jan 2021 2:22pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:806

On 17th Jan 2021 4:13pm, Choirboy said: A description of the dope used to repair holes is given at this BBC page that says it was highly poisonous. It is a wonder any of us from the 40's survived the good intentions of our parents never mind Hitler!
My mother worked at Canley on the nightshift, on the assembly of the Mosquitoes (or Spitfires, can't remember which), and it was near the dope shop, and with no H&S the smell was overpowering.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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178 of 178  Tue 19th Jan 2021 2:34pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3791

Cable was supposed to be a joke, but no matter. I could have said every time I went in a barrage balloon, like a pub, I went sky high and left by the side door. I believe barrage balloon material was sold to kids to play with and mess with. You couldn't tear it, so many cross stitches to stop them tearing in windy weather, it was good for pattern making as well. It was put to a lot of uses in its time.
Wartime and the Blitz - Coventry & Warwickshire in WWII

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