Smoke Screeners

A unit that created smoke so that enemy aircraft couldn’t easily target the shipyards

I was a child when war broke out but one of my vivid memories was of the smoke screeners. I lived on the banks of the River Tyne and at the bottom of our street was a unit that created smoke so that enemy aircraft couldn’t easily target the shipyards. We were always in trouble for hanging around the smoke screeners but as kids we were fascinated by them.

Another memory was being carried, half asleep, to the air raid shelter and combing the street the following morning looking for shrapnel.

Food shortages were common during the war and if word spread that a certain shop had certain items in stock, queues would form in no time. I can remember queuing for woodbines, tinned pineapple chunks, tinned salmon and every Saturday we had to queue at the pork shop for sausages. You were limited to half a pound and if you wanted more you had to queue again. At Christmas time my mother would take the sugar ration to a woman in Wallsend who made sweets for our stockings.

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