WWII Memories
Personal Histories of World War Two

Welton in World War II (Memoir 2)

This is a record of an interview with Mr. Parker of Welton. He was interviewed on 15 January 2002.

An Interview with Mr. Parker

I was born in Welton in 1931, up Welton Dale.

Just before the war there was an airship came up the Humber to Blackburn air factory, which is now British Aerospace, and took a lot of photographs.

This would be about 1937, so that when the war broke out, they were (the Germans) ready to bomb it, which they did.

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Gas Masks

The war started in September 1939 and my elder brother was called up into the army, then my next brother, then my sister and then I was after the war because I'm that much younger.

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We could see Hull burning. It was eight miles wide and it was burning from one side to the other.
Mr. Parker

At the beginning of the war I went to Welton primary school, down Common Lane.

I was there right through the war.

We all had to be issued with gas masks.

They were all in cardboard boxes and you had to carry this square cardboard box wherever you went.

So, it wasn't very nice, but you had to have them.

Babies were fastened in a big long container, with a window so that you could see they were all right.

They were big and cumbersome.

The army and everybody else had gas masks, with a big long pipe down to a filter.

You got really hot inside, they made you sweat.

You only got half the air you wanted because of the filter.

At the beginning of the war we had to have gas masks and identity cards for when you were stopped by the police.

Everything would be blacked out.

You had air raid warnings, because if there was an air raid, which was our biggest problem round here, you had special constables that did it (gave warnings) time.

You would be stopped and questioned if he thought you were not British.

The windows were taped across at Welton School.

They were taped and painted with a glue film to help to stop them shattering if a bomb was dropped, to avoid splinters of glass.

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The next thing was the air raid siren.

When the German bombers came there was an up and down note for an air raid and a continuous note for all clear.

There was an air raid observation post on top of Elloughton Hill, up Kidd Lane.

It looks at British Aerospace.

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Air-Raid Shelters

There were a lot of air raid shelters around the village.

There were 4 apexes with a concrete roof, with an entrance at one end which was what they called glass wall (?).

Each piece would accommodate 10 people, so they all held 40.

No light, no nothing, just an air raid shelter, somewhere to go if there was an air raid.

It was not very nice to be in there all night.

If there was a black cross on the planes coming over, you got out of the way.

There's one at Welton Bottom.

At Welton Hall there was an air raid shelter made of air raid sleepers, but it had no ends.

Later there was a shelter there like a ship's boiler, all lined out and covered with soil and you could live in there.

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At Welton Primary School there wasn't an air raid as such, the cloakroom had a reinforced roof and that was our shelter, because some of us lived too far away to get home when there was a warning.

We did as we were told when the air raid siren went.

Now Welton School was used for bombed out people.

There was a massive air raid on Hull and it was on fire from one end to the other.

The people who were bombed out were brought to Welton School and we couldn't go to school until after ten o'clock, because lots of kiddies had slept on the floor and there were piles of blankets in the classroom.

Then they would either go back to school or join us in our school.

There were forty to fifty people in each class, because of the evacuees who joined us from Hull.

Some of them lived with their family in removal wagons over night.

We had a family of seven living with us for a while.

We had no room, but we had to have them.

They still had to go into Hull each day to work.

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Welton Church and the Green Dragon

The church in Welton was all blacked out and you couldn't have a service on a night time because of the lights and air raids.

But Welton didn't have any electricity.

It was all paraffin lamps.

There was no proper sewerage.

It was a very primitive place.

There was a little bit of gas, that's all.

There was a fire station, an auxiliary one.

That was, people who went to work during the day and then at night they stood by a fire engine, because there were a lot of incendiary bombs dropped.

These cause fire, they have phosphorus in them and stuff like that.

They were more used for fire than straight destruction.

They used to bomb places on fire so that the fire would be blown out onto other buildings and spread the fire.

The Green Dragon was where the fire station was.

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Civil Defence

We had a little bit of defence round here.

We had an anti aircraft gun.

At Riplingham on the hill tops towards Market Weighton, there were two big anti aircraft guns, with search lights on the hill as well.

When the Germans came over to bomb Hull, they came over here and turned round to start to go back, and when they started to go back they tried to catch them and they tried to shoot them down as when they were turning round they were more vulnerable.

There was an anti aircraft gun at Brough Haven too.

There were some really big guns where Costello playing fields are now and when they went, you could hear them right out here.

There was an anti-aircraft gun outside Capper Pass to protect that, too.

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Hull Burning

We could see Hull burning.

It was eight miles wide and it was burning from one side to the other.

If you went into Hull on the one bus and were caught in an air raid, you would probably have to walk home.

During this period, there were two sea mines dropped in the river Humber, but the wind blew them up here.

One was right up Melton Bottom and the parachute dropped on top of it and covered it over.

And someone went to have a look and picked up the parachute and saw this and ran away.

The fuse was taken out.

It was a highly dangerous thing.

Another exploded in Welton Dale and made a right mess of the back of the Dale.

A string of bombs fell right across the A63 motorway to where South Hunsley School is.

One blew a hole on the side of the road and others dropped on your playing field.

One went right down the side of an oak tree and only took one branch off as the tree was so strong.

We think they were aimed for the road, but they missed and some at Blackburn air factory just went into the mud.

Butterfly bombs were anti-personnel bombs.

They were the size of a tin of beans and if you touched them once they had landed, they would blow your hand off.

We had to watch out for those.

We had the doodlebugs too, the V1 bombers, come over.

There were no pilots on them and when the engine stopped they came down and some went passed here, but none fell here.

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Helping the War Effort

When I was in the school at Welton we had to collect nettles.

These were strung all down the class.

The beetles, etcetera, used to fall down your neck.

These were dried for medicinal purposes, why I don't know, and also belladonna, that's a poison.

Also rosehips.

That was all collected by us.

That was our war effort, we got so much pay and that all went into the school funds.

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Places in Welton

Back over the hill going into Welton on the left hand side, where Welton Park is now, there was a big house called Welton House.

It had forty bedrooms.

It belonged to Broadley, who was the estate owner.

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We had a big party outside the Green Dragon, with bonfires and fireworks...
Mr. Parker

There were soldiers billeted there, over a thousand soldiers, four lots.

There were big guns there and all sorts.

Then it was an army prison, if there was someone who had deserted or what not.

Then when they went we got a thousand Italian prisoners of war and then German prisoners of war.

They were allowed to come into the village as the war finished, to do gardening, road sweeping, all manner of things.

And the old vicarage and Welton, there were soldiers billeted there and just outside the village there was a street full of ammunition, in piles, shells, ammunition to keep them out of the way.

Where Welton Riding School is now, up at Wauldby, a Halifax bomber crashed.

It was full of bombs and we went up to it and it was quite a mess.

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Food was rationed during the war.

You used to have two ounces (2 oz.) of this and two ounces of that and that had to last all week.

Two ounces of butter and two ounces of jam and a bit if bread.

It wasn't that you couldn't buy it, you just couldn't have it.

All was rationed.

Clothes were on coupons and they would last all year and you had to have what you could get.

There was no petrol - we used ponies, push bikes, anything.

All the cars had to have shielded, slatted lights, you could hardly see.

You couldn't ride a bike without a light in the war.

We had to try and find food the best way we could.

We used to grow vegetables, keep chickens, rabbits and any game, as long as you wasn't caught by the keeper.

You did that to live.

We all as children, over eight years old, went to work on farms for a month a year in two separate weeks.

About April we had to go up to the big farm.

We were picked up in the village and we planted potatoes from (for?) two weeks nine o'clock till four o'clock.

Then in September, you'd go up to pick 'em, nine o'clock til four o'clock.

You got paid, but it was the equivalent of 15p per day, but we had it to do.

You could only get away with it if you were medically unfit.

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The Command Post

Now, in Welton Dale, there was a secret underground place.

Some Canadian miners came with the army and dug these underground places.

Now you've heard of the French that did all this underground stuff.

There was one of those up in Welton Dale, so that if the Germans invaded they could fight from there without people knowing.

I knew exactly where it was.

It's been blown up, but I saw it being built.

It was a command post.

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Celebrations and Memorials

The war ended in Europe on May 8 1945 - the VE celebrations.

We had a big party outside the Green Dragon, with bonfires and fireworks and you could fly your flag and ring the church bells.

The church bell stopped all the way through the war.

If the bells rang it was invasion.

In August 1945, the end of the war against Japan, we had another party, so that was all good fun.

Welton Estate Hall, now Welton Memorial Hall.

That was called the Welton Estate Hall and was bought by the people of the village and became Welton and Melton Memorial Hall and it was in memory of people who died, instead of a cenotaph.

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