Picture: My Mum (or as my girls call her "Grandma Jean") in her Sunday best and looking "smashing" as mum would say, "great" as I would say or "cool" as my girls would say..... How language changes!
ANTI PERSONNEL BOMB
I was ten years old and I was playing with my friends as usual. I sat on a house wall opposite our house - the wall was quite low because at the beginning of the war the iron railing which had been above the bricks and the decorative iron gates had been cut off to help make ammunitions. There I sat trailing my hand in the damp grass behind me when I felt something and picked it up. It looked like a fountain pen made of glass. Fortunately for me a neighbour was nearby and saw me with 'the pen'. She said "Stay quite still, don't drop it and I will fetch an ARP Warden".
Two wardens came and they stood me in the middle of the road (still holding the pen) and proceeded to put sandbags all around me. Then another man came, I think he must have been a domb disposal man. He took "the pen" from me and put it in something and went off at great speed.
The ARP warden went to see my mother and told her I had found an anti-personnel bomb and that I was lucky not to have been blown up. They said they were going to search to see if there were any more. Well they found hundreds in close proximity to our house. They were on the roofs and in the gardens.
On the next Saturday afternoon quite a lot of people were killed on Freeman Street Market with these bombs. They were small and came in many guises. I'm told it was decided that nothing should be said and it was one of the best kept secrets of the war. The Germans had chosen Grimsby to be a guinea pig but they thought that the anti-personnel bombs had been a failure. This wasn't the case, they had been very successful but the secret worked and they didn't drop any more.
The sad thing as far as I was concerned was that the next morning I was called out in Assembly, and the Head Teacher (Miss Beeson) said, "This silly girl picked up an anti-personnel bomb yesterday and could have been blown up, I hope none of you will do anything so dangerous". Turning to me she said, "Go and wait outside my door". Later when Assembly was over she came and said "Come in and hold out your hand". I got three sharp strokes across my hand with the cane. I can remember I didn't cry - I just hated her for the injustice of it!!
Another of my nine lives gone!