We didn’t realise at the time that our carefree teenage years were about to be stolen from us.
It is not an easy task to convey to people of today the atmosphere which prevailed in the years leading up to World War Two, but I will try.
We kept hearing on the wireless about the rise of National Socialism in Germany, led by someone called Adolf Hitler. Myself and my friends were at an important point in our lives, having not long left our school days behind, busy contemplating what career to aim for. Myself personally I wasn’t bothered about a career, I just wanted a job so I could help out at home, but Hitler and his party – which by now had become known as the Nazi Party – had other ideas.
My friends and I were having such fun in our new found freedom that we didn’t take much notice of the way our parents were worrying about the situation, but gradually we began to read about this Nazi Party and its leaders demanding lands which they said had been taken away from them at the end of WWl.
When their demands were refused the German Panzer Divisions were sent in and one small country after another fell to the invaders. We didn’t realise at the time that our carefree teenage years were about to be stolen from us. It happened sooner than we thought. The situation across Europe was serious. Germany and Russia had signed a pact, namely for Germany to take over Europe and when Adolf Hitler had the whole of Europe in his grasp he and Joseph Stalin, the Russian leader, would carve it up between them. They had to be stopped.
To try to achieve this our then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Berlin to talk peace to the German Chancellor. After their meeting the Prime Minister flew back alighting from the aircraft waving a piece of paper saying the German Chancellor has signed this peace agreement which means peace in our time. A few days later on Sunday September 3rd 1939 Hitler sent the German Air Force into Polish airspace bombing and after that the storm troops killing and destroying everything and everybody who got in their way, men, women and children.
So much for peace in our time.