Nevil Chamberlain our prime minister had been to Berlin to meet Hitler and come
back with a useless piece of paper guaranteeing peace in our time.
Winston Churchill was minister for war and was hard at work organising the rearming
of our forces RAF where to get the new mark two Spitfire. The mark two had the new
Rolls Royce Merlin engine, it had a secret ingredient this was petrol with a catalyst
additive which allowed it to rev at higher revs than the German fighters this gave them
the edge over the Mesherrsmits.
The top secret additive was anti knock or lead as we know it today, ICI at Runcorn
had developed it and because it made all the difference to top speed and general power
for all aeroplanes and vehicles of all kind, the plant that produced it was top secret and
moved from Runcorn to Clitheroe in the heart of north lancashire for protection, it was
never bombed and is still there to this day.
Winston Churchill took over as Prime Minister from Chamberlain after war was
declared, the first thing he did was to build up the production of the spitfire and navy
ships and submarines.
After the dunkirk disaster which was turn into a victory by the way 300 000 troops were
picked up by the royal navy with aid of hundreds of pleasure craft out of the Thames and
the Norfolk broards.
After Dunkirk! Everything changed, instead of Dad returning to Catterick he was sent
to Birkenhead for training with the Crossville bus company, their depot was to be the
place to get on the spot training in driving and maintenance of large vehicles, this could
have been a good billet!
The only thing was that the Battle of Britain had started, with Liverpool and
Birkenhead being bombed every night, for two months the bombers came to bomb
Being based across the Mersey, Birkenhead was very dangerous, dad said after a while
you stopped running for the shelters and stood and watched the anti-aircraft shells trying
to shoot down the German bombers
Two months and thousands of shells later not one bomber had been hit, Jazza my
friend’s dad was serving on an anti-aircraft gun by the Albert docks in Liverpool, every
morning the women would come down with tea and a butty for the gun crews.
Later he was to remark I wonder what we would have got if they had known it was
a wooden gun!!! The anti aircraft guns were there to keep up the civilian moral.
The number of people who died was difficult to count, but it was many thousands,
the damage done by bombs was considerable, the famous Lewis’ of Liverpool nearly
burned to the ground, ships were sunk in the docks, and many thousands of house`s
flattened, everybody had relations and friends killed in the Blitz.
With Carnforth only a train journey away, dad could get leave and a travel warrant,
on the frequent trips back to Carnforth dad would court the lovely Kathleen, a gorgeous
Aurban haired young lady of Irish descent.
Kathleen came from Barrow in Furness she was one of seven sisters, she worked in
the Carnforth hotel as a chamber maid. Dad would walk hand in hand with Kathleen along
the canal tow path and talk about what they would do after the war.
Kathleen’s father John Loughran had been killed by a large swinging steel plate in
Barrow docks; it was being swung from dock side to ship, when it slipped from the sling.
John Loughran died in 1936 aged forty leaving a wife and seven children. Bridget
Kathleen’s mother had left Barrow to go back to Ireland when war broke out; the family
owned a large country house called Carrickbroad.