‘A Collection of Memories from the time of the Second World War’

Published in Personal History

I was too young to remember the start of the Second World War but as a young child one of the things I remember during the war the newspapers. On each newspaper there was always a map, and on each map there were arrows representing the Axis Powers and the Allies. At the time I did not know what the arrows represented but it was always something that stood out in my mind.

Also as a child I used to go over to Newbridge and play in a wide green area surrounded by 26 houses called the Crescent, due to its shape. The boys would play together on the grass while the women sat on the wall and talked to each other. This was because during those times there was no other way to spend the time, there were no televisions and the radio was hardly ever used as there were very little stations. So we spent our time at the Crescent.

Another thing I remember was the internees. These were German pilots who had crashed or ejected over Ireland and had to be held indefinitely until the war was over.

They were held at the Curragh and they used to be allowed walk down to Newbridge into the Crescent. The women would then call us over and tell us to go up to them and say ‘Heil Hitler’. We were completely innocent and really didn’t know what saying ‘Heil Hitler’ really meant so of course we would do it.

Also when the war ended some of the German pilots didn’t want to leave and actually caused a commotion. They also used to build toy and model airplanes, they were very good with those kind of mechanical things.

During this time there as also ration books. These were small little books with coupons in them the size of stamps. You would go to the supermarket, go to the counter and give a list of what you need to the shop assistant. The shop assistant would hen go off and find what you need and come back and exchange your coupons for them and that was your supplies for the week. All of the coupons were labelled in Irish such as sucra for sugar and tae for tea and the word that stood out for me that I still remember today the word ‘glunnach’ which was a coupon that would give you a weeks supply of soap.

There was also no oranges or bananas at all in Ireland, none whatsoever. We used to hear the adults talking about ‘jaffa oranges’ but we ourselves had never eaten one. Actually later on in my youth I came across a history book which had on the inside of the back a chronological timeline for the Second World War. It labelled things such as VE day and VJ day but there was one added in by a previous owner of the book for the date 1947 :  ‘Oranges and bananas return to Ireland’


Story submitted by Darragh Ryan but sourced from Anonymous


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