WWII Memories
Personal Histories of World War Two

North Ferriby in World War II (Memoir 2)

This memoir was written by Mrs. Marigold Vodden from North Ferriby, in January 2002.

Ferriby Foreshore

Before the Invasion, 1944, the troops used to practise getting their amphibians into the water.

There was no car park or wall, the road just stopped and the riverside began.

The soldiers put down strips of metal rather like corrugated iron, but with little round holes in, over the mud, and then drove their Ducks* etcetera down into the water.

*Editor's note:

"duck" is a nickname for the four-wheel drive amphibious vehicle designated as "DUKW".

This is not an acronym but a special code, devised by General Motors, which made the DUKWs.

The letters give the following information:

  • D - year of design (1942)
  • U - type of vehicle (amphibian)
  • K - front wheel drive
  • W - rear wheel drive
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The Triangle

Before the Invasion, troops were stationed everywhere. Round the Triangle there were army lorries, they used to park on the grass under the trees for camouflage, they were also covered with camouflage netting.

My sister remembers that it was the Royal Engineers, and that their lorries all had polar bears on then.

There were other Regiments as well, especially as time drew near for the Invasion - but of course we did not know the date then.

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Italian POWs

There were a lot of Italian POWs in Ferriby.

Their camp was on the High Road, in fact in the house and garden of what is now the Waites' house - The Cottage, just opposite White House Farm (now a housing estate).

The prisoners were in the house and in the gardens.

Italian prisoners were allowed out during the day because they were no threat.

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There was always a train kept in the siding at Ferriby Station in case of invasion.
Mrs. Marigold Vodden

They did not want to fight again.

People in Ferriby would employ them to do gardening, because every possible piece of land was used for growing vegetables.

There were troops too in Sir Arthur Atkinson's grounds.

His house was also on the north side, where Parklands is now.

You can still see the lodge, almost next door to the Waites'.

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Air Raid Precautions

On the roof of White House Farm was where the Air Raid Siren was, and a horrible noise it made.

Further back along the High Road, on the North side, there used to be an old, standing well back.

Trinity House Farm (long gone) was on the north side too and this old house was between the Farm and Aston Hall (where Aston Hall Drive is now).

This old house was used by the Fire Service to practise saving people from tall buildings, for the Air Raids.

Girl Guides and Scouts used to be the “volunteers” to be saved.

It was quite scary being carried down from the third floor, upside down over a fireman's shoulder, we were glad to reach the ground safely.

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The Ack-Ack Gun

In the corner of the field on the east side of Brickyard Lane, at Melton, right near the River, there was a Gun position.

It was an ack ack gun. for shooting down 'planes. The whole southwest corner of the field was wired off, and the gun was often manned by ATS (women soldiers) as well as men.

The German 'planes used to come up the Humber to turn after bombing Hull, and they would drop their unused bombs wherever they could, on Brough Airfield if they could. They used to be spotted by the Observer Post up on the hill between Welton and Elloughton.

I only heard the other day, from a memo I found written by my Mother (Air Raid Warden and WVS worker among other things) that there was always a train kept in the siding at Ferriby Station in case of invasion.

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Full Houses

Every house in Ferriby was full. Some people had evacuees; empty houses were full of soldiers.

Our house, at the bottom end of The Triangle, was the local First Aid Post.

Our dining room was the Post and we did not use the room all through the War.

Sometimes we would have people sleeping there on the floor, workers from Hull who had come out to do some maintenance job perhaps at the Airfield or Capper Pass, and then could not get home.

No-one ever said where they had been working - it had to be secret.

The Air Raid Wardens' HQ was Mr. Hare's house (the big house on the west side of Humber Road, the flat roofed house at the top, with a new house built beside it).

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The Black-Out

Everywhere was pitch black at night.

One of the chief jobs of the Air Raid Wardens was to make sure no-one was showing a light.

You never put on a light and walked into a room.

You would walk over to the windows and put up the black out, then walk back in the dark and put the lights on.

Cars were blacked out; there were very few cars anyway.

The ones there were had a shield over the headlight, with just a tiny opening for light to show through.

Buses and trains were blacked out, and as there were no names on the stations or villages, travelling was not easy.

One thing though, everyone was very friendly and helpful, you never had to be frightened of people - we all helped each other because we all needed each other.


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Below is the content of an email from Mrs Jeanette Stephenson (Maiden name) now Campbell, dated 29 September 2012.

Hi Chris,

I've just been reading World in Conflict, North Ferriby. Well, it brought a little tear to my eye. Just to say I was born in August 1945, being the first girl to be born IN THE VILLAGE after the war, and the first boy to be born there, was Tom Harland, the famous artist, who has recently died this year aged 67.

I have a lot in common with the village of North Ferriby. I don't live there now, but my roots and memories of me growing up, to being 21, are still there.

I remember SIR ARTHUR ATKINSON because my mum and dad, and all the family lived in the Old Lodge, to the driveway of his mansion. My father worked on Trinity House farm all his life, and did a bit of work for SIR ARTHUR as well. As old as I am (67) I remember my mum and dad when they were alive to talk about SIR ARTHUR and also about CECIL SLACK. My mum had my brother and sister on the floor in the Old Lodge front room. Then I was born on 20th August 1945 just after they called peace. The handyman and gardener for CECIL SLACK was called HAROLD STAVELY, and his wife was a very good friend of my mum's.

My mum was also a good friend of MRS PICKERING, mother of George and Harry who owned the farm opporsite WHITE HOUSE FARM, where the air raid siren was kept. Now the farm is no longer there, and it is a housing estate. I remember my mum having conversations with SIR ARTHUR'S maid, Pat, who is still alive at the age of 84.

My mum and her used to talk and have conversations about the poor Italian prisoners of war, and said how she used to bake and give them food over the garden fence that was between us and the cottage next door to where they all were. The Italian prisoners of war said they gave themselves up because they didn't want to fight no more, they were too frightened. Everything that is mentioned in World in Conflict II in NORTH FERRIBY has a link to my family. My dad was a HOME GUARD - MR CHARLIE STEPHENSON, and he was always close by during the war of darkness. I hope this is a bit more history and useful information for life during WORLD WAR II in NORTH FERRIBY.

Yours Sincerely,
Mrs Jeanette Stephenson (maiden name), now Campbell

Thank you, Mrs Campbell for taking the time to send me your comments. Chris Brown, website editor.

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