Interview with Millie Roberts

Title

Interview with Millie Roberts

Description

Millie Roberts has lived her life in and around Lincoln. Her early memories include watching an airship fly overhead from the school playground at Reepham, getting locked in a cowshed and knitting baby clothes from wool collected from hedgerows. Having joined the Girls Training Corps, Millie helped out at RAF hospital Nocton Hall; and the American post exchange which was situated near the library in Lincoln. She had first hand experience of bombing when her home in Avondale Street was hit by blast damage from a nearby explosion. The family were sheltering under the stairs when the blast brought down their chimney and part of the wall. Millie recalls her experience of the blackout, coupons and arriving home with two chickens she had won in a raffle.

Creator

Date

2018-06-14

Temporal Coverage

Coverage

Language

Type

Format

01:23:11 audio recording

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

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This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Identifier

ARobertsM180614

Transcription

MS: So my name is Michael Sheehan. I’m an interviewer with the International Bomber Command Centre Oral History. I’m sitting with Mrs Millicent ‘Millie’ Roberts. You prefer to called Millie.
MR: Yes.
MS: Is that right?
MR: Please.
MS: What’s your date of birth please, Millie?
MR: 29 1 26.
MS: And we’re at your address [buzz] Also present is Joy Lancaster who is your daughter.
MR: Yes.
MS: Who is acting in your interest and Anita Sheehan who’s my co-interviewee. Now, are you happy to be interviewed?
MR: Yes. Yes. I’ve nothing to hide.
MS: Nothing to hide. Right.
MR: I’m not selling drugs or anything.
MS: Not selling drugs.
MR: Well, I’ve just had, it’s on the radio today, it’s a terrible thing. People make a living out of the things don’t they?
MS: Yeah.
MR: And these young men and children get caught up in it. It’s all awful.
MS: It is awful. You’re right. So you’re happy to confirm you do consent to take part in the recording?
MR: Yes.
MS: At the end of the interview I’ll be going through some paperwork. Get you to sign a document. But at all times if there are any questions you want to ask or you want to stop the interview or take a comfort break or anything like that or anybody else who wants to do on your behalf then just say so and we’ll do it. How’s that?
MR: Yes. That’s fine.
MS: Ok. The idea about the interview is to collect oral histories from people like yourself who lived through the Second World War both as crews and also people who witnessed things on the ground and I believe you were a witness on the ground.
MR: Yeah.
MS: But before we get going what were you, what was your life like before the war? What were you doing?
MR: School [laughs]
MS: School. Where were you at school?
MR: Well, I started school at Eastgate School. I was born in Rasen Lane. The corner of Hereward Street and Rasen Lane and my first school was Eastgate. And when you walked you walked through the Newport Arch to East Bight and then through there we walked. But then 1926 and the 30s was a bad time because it was the strike and my father lost his business, which was a bankrupt in those days was totally different to today. So we moved to a house in Reepham which had an outside loo and a pump like that ‘til they came and put water in that. Well, for us it was a happy time at Reepham because your parents had what I only knew when I was older what a worry it would have been for them because [pause] and the, and school was lovely. And the headmistress.
MS: What school was it you went to?
MR: Reepham School. I have somewhere, Joy amongst here is a newspaper. Look at the school.
MS: Was it a village school?
MR: Yes. And they won. No. It [pause] well I’ll find it after.
MS: Yeah. Sure.
MR: It’s a, it’s a newspaper and they put it, no that’s the zeppelin. I’ll come to that.
MS: Yeah.
MR: It’s, they won, what they do today it was a very good school. So I wrote but stupidly I didn’t put my address in so I never got a reply. So I described the school to the headmaster now [unclear] because when you went to school there was one big room and there was a screen which that was the Senior, that was the Junior and this small room was the Infants. There was one coke boiler and in the winter when you went with the snow the headmistress let you put them all around and you used to have this smell. You know.
MS: The smell. All schools smell.
MR: And I never drunk the milk. I wouldn’t drink the milk. But it was very happy. Well, one day we was in the playground and they said, ‘What on earth is that?’ And it was the zeppelin going over. There is something about the zeppelin.
MS: The Zeppelin?
MR: Yeah. The Zeppelin. And, yes it’s in the paper.
MS: The zeppelin.
MR: Yeah.
MS: Oh right. Got it.
MR: And we ran and we ran. It was play time. We was in playtime. We all went. There wasn’t one soul stayed behind. And we all ran.
MS: Oh lovely.
MR: Seen it. I’m not saying it was above us.
MS: Yeah. Good.
MR: We were kind of following it and I can’t remember, it must have been Fiskerton that we ended up in. And so we go back to school and we had to stay in. The head mistress made us stay in. This was in, we weren’t doing lessons. She said, ‘You would have been back in lessons part of the time. No you have to stay here. I’m responsible when you’re at this school and if anything had happened to you what do you think your parents would say?’ So we got told off for doing that.
MS: Can I interrupt you for a second? That looks like you would be about ten years of age when the zeppelin —
MR: Yes. That would be it.
MS: The Hindenburg came over.
MR: Yes. Yes. That’s right.
MS: Which was very famous isn’t it?
MR: That would be correct. Yes. So that was, that was a bit of an excitement.
MS: Yeah. It looks like it.
MR: And we had, we were doing a play once. Just a kids play. I can’t remember what it was, but we went in the cow shed and they had these cake meals piled up and we went up these steps and we was all very happily doing. All of a sudden it was dark. And we’d never heard the cowman come in and he locked the door. And the whole village was looking out for us.
MS: You were locked in.
MR: Yeah. We were locked in.
MS: In Reepham.
MR: Yeah. Locked in the cowshed. Anyway, there was a cow not very well so the farmer had come in a bit early so everybody was relieved that they couldn’t, but it was a very happy time there. It was all, all school fetes, church fetes, Brownies. What we did when we were Brownies we collected the wool. The sheep got on the fences and the lovely headmistress that did the Brownies and Guides we ended up knitting little baby’s jackets. She showed us how you could do it all. Took ages to do but it was nice. But it was a happy time. And they wouldn’t have me in the choir because I was tone deaf. So I pumped the organ. Well, I didn’t care because I did what I liked while I pumped the organ.
MS: Can I ask you a question? Did you get the wool off the fence?
MR: Yeah. Well, there was all around the hedges and that, you know.
MS: Yeah.
MR: [unclear] it wasn’t getting it like they are now that people make a living out of it.
MS: Can I ask you a question? You know, when you were thirteen in 1939. Yeah? Well, when war was declared did you hear it on the radio? Did you hear —
MR: Do you know I’m just thinking. I’m just thinking what? Where I did hear it, or even where I was at thirteen because an uncle got my father a job in Ruston’s which all my father’s life was working to feed five children really. He hated it. But he became a sergeant in the Home Guard. So with him being a Naval man that gave him something. But I can’t remember. I can’t remember where I was when the war started.
MS: Do you remember any feelings you had when you knew the war had started?
MR: Oh, but I’ll tell you something that I have.
MS: Yeah.
MR: I have my teacher’s autograph here and there was a Mr Teasdale. Maths teacher. And we did have to learn to go [pause] we was, oh we was back. I was back in Lincoln at a Lincoln school, and we were going in the air raid and that. And the, Mr Teasdale was always looking at the planes, so he was soon a teacher no more. He was an airman. And I never knew how he got on in that. But I must tell you something about today and then. I had a little sister. And there wasn’t such a word mentioned as leukaemia but the very nice doctor he was our coroner. He sat and explained to me about red cells and white cells, and I was the only one that could visit her in hospital because they didn’t take children in the hospital under four. We had diphtheria while we were [unclear] Everything was going around, you know. And I just sat in class and burst out in tears and Mr Teasdale, Mr Teasdale said, ‘What is the matter? Aren’t you very well?’ And I couldn’t tell him. He said, ‘Go to the nurse’s,’ thing which we called the nit nurse. Right, ‘And go there and I’ll see you at break.’
MS: Yeah.
MR: And he come and he took me home. Could that happen today? You know.
MS: Yeah.
MR: I mean the teacher taking you home. And he took me home. And of course she died. It was at Christmas and that would be another tale because Mr Threadgold friend of my grandparents in the Bail, the place is still there his wife was a corsetiere. Grandma went for her corsets.
MS: Where did you go for yours?
MR: We didn’t do. We didn’t go to anybody. But oh it’s so, it’s so funny when you think about things isn’t it? How far have I got?
MS: About your sister passing away.
JL: And you were in a new address in Lincoln.
MS: Yeah.
MR: Oh yeah. Oh now.
MS: Yeah.
MR: We was in Avondale Street then.
MS: Right.
MR: And he come with his horses and then the little coffin went in. So it goes down Monks Road but he could hardly, snow and ice, just before Christmas, and he could hardly get up to Newport Cemetery and he says, ‘That’s it. That’s the last of my horses.’ And he, from then it was a car. And —
MS: What year was that, roughly? When your sister passed away.
MR: Well, they took her to school because of the war at the age of four. Because a lot of women started going in the munitions. That was the start of women working. So they, so she just had started school at the age of four. I don’t know.
MS: So —
MR: I’d have to get the death certificate out.
MS: No. No. No.
JL: About 1943 wouldn’t it be?
MS: About ’43. So you’d be about six.
MR: Maybe not as late as that Joy.
JL: The war was ’39.
MR: No. I think she, I think it would be ’38 or’39.
MS: Yeah.
MR: It would be the beginning of the war.
MS: Yeah.
MR: Yeah. It hadn’t really started. It would be then.
MS: Yeah.
MR: But that’s, that’s just Threadgold’s in the Bail that —
MS: Was that, were Threadgold’s a funeral director?
MR: Yes. He was.
MS: Ok.
MR: They retired and lived at somewhere near Sudbrooke there. A house. They retired and strangely enough when we had our first house, first had, we lived near Priestley and Cockett that bought Threadgold’s business.
MS: Oh right.
MR: So I went to the funeral.
MS: It’s a circle.
MR: My, my middle daughter went to school with their youngest daughter.
MS: Yeah.
MR: And so we saw funerals and all that but that, that’s just another tale then. But then she wasn’t alive when the, when they bombed Avondale Street.
MS: Right. Can I ask you a question? You know how, when did you get the first impression that you knew that war was affecting you and Lincoln.
MR: Now, going to my grandad when he said St Peter had called him. He was a man that always had a bible there and I’ve got his bible and things have been marked in it like, and he was dying. We knew he was. And we all went up to say goodbye to him and he said, it was between Chamberlain and the umbrella and all that was going on you know —
MS: Yeah. Munich.
MR: ‘There will be a war. Look after yourselves.’ And he had, they had lived through, my mother nearly died after the First World War. She got the Spanish Flu and she was very, very ill. And somebody went that had it bad. They had greenhouses on Riseholme Road she had plants and that. And she’d got that and I never knew until recently that more people died of that than in the war.
MS: Yeah. My grandfather died of that.
MR: Did he really?
MS: Yeah. Millions more died.
MR: Yeah. They did and I never really knew that.
MS: Yeah.
MR: No. So, that was, that was when I knew there was a war. But to us, I’m saying it was a wonderful thing for teenagers. We could go, if you belonged to a youth club or anything you could go and get Air Force wool or the Army wool and the pattern and you knitted it and you took the wool back but you see if you did something for yourself you needed coupons and that. So you had something to do. We had something to do. And as soon as you was old enough we joined this Girl’s Training Corps and you could go and, and then gradually we went to the American place near the library and did things. We went to Nocton Hospital. I’ve got many an American want to see me in America. All over flipping America.
MS: Boyfriends?
MR: They didn’t know. No. They never became boyfriends. Do you know I think we, and my friend will tell you and Alma as well that you can say what you like about the books they do of the war and we knew the two hotels where everybody went for sex and they were pushing a pram the next year. We knew all that. But do you know we always said when we was talking after the men, especially men that showed you their wives or their sweethearts or their families they only wanted to dance with you and have a night out. And anyway my father knew the chucker out at one of them. I mean, I daren’t have done anything.
MS: You’d got no chance.
MR: I daren’t have done anything wrong.
MS: Which were the two hotels just out of interest?
MR: Well —
MS: It’s a long time ago.
MR: One isn’t there anymore.
MS: Yeah.
MR: One is where Pratts is. Just around there. And it had all palm trees going in. I know somebody who danced with Guy Gibson in it. In there. I never went in. Never. Didn’t go in hotels in those days. And then there was Woolworths there but that’s all gone. But the, the other one, it would be the White Hart up in the Bail.
MS: The White Hart. Right.
AS: You mentioned the American place near the library. What was that?
MR: Yes. It was near, what did they call the American places that like was our NAAFI.
MS: PX.
MR: Yeah. We used to take them around the Cathedral. Oh, we were ever so good. We learned a lot about the Cathedral. Well, I’ll tell you about one American. I can’t remember his name or anything. And we was just talking and he had a lovely family. Two children. Lovely family. And then if they come back you knew they were still alive. They get other postings and they come and he’d come back. But he was just going to go over, and strangely enough he was going to go over with those all those Canadians that got killed when they made a thing to go further down in France to avoid letting them know they were going where they were going. And all those Canadians, all those sort of things. And how he got with the Canadians going to the coast. Somebody told me after that knew. And, and there were so, there were so many. And, and we had all, there was always something that we could do, and of course things were short. I’ve seen when the snow and the thing people dragging bags of coal home to warm the house, you know.
MS: Where were they getting the coal from? Was it —
MR: From the, well it’s another thing you see because coal yards are all gone. Pelham Bridge.
MS: Yeah.
MR: Just down there was all there. There’s all sorts of things that you know about.
MS: Were they, were they stealing the coal?
MR: No. No. No. They would go and be allowed to have it if they fetched it.
MS: Right.
MR: You know, now I’m asking now I don’t know about the rations of it, but that’s another thing for us. We were now living with my grandparents and they had coke allowed for the greenhouses. So there was a lot of coke on our fire. One fire in the whole of the big house.
JL: It was on Riseholme Road wasn’t it? Where your grandparents lived.
MR: But there was —
JL: The house.
MR: But the house he built had the, a radiator in the bathroom, a radiator in their bedroom and a radiator in with the beautiful Edwardian window. I went up because I found two photos of when it was built and I thought the people that liked it, lived there now might like it. I would have posted it but I couldn’t so then they took me. Oh, I couldn’t believe the place. How the modern way. Beautiful Edwardian greenhouse was two garages. Well, well honestly it was very, very nice but it wasn’t where —
MS: It wasn’t what you remembered?
MR: But, yes one night when we went to a dance my lovely friend there that died of an awful cancer she, if I went dancing I could bring a friend home or I stayed in Lincoln with a friend. So that there was two of you in the blackout and that. And so it was one of these nights we was going dancing at the Assembly Rooms and there was these two airmen walking in the snow and we knew they had to walk to Scampton. So quite innocently we said, ‘We’re just going to have a drink. A warm drink. Why you don’t come in and have one before you’ve got to walk the rest of the way?’ Thinking somebody would be up because it wasn’t, I don’t think it was awfully late. Anyway, we got in and we had it and all of sudden my mother came in. Grandma was then bedridden in the front room and she’d come to see if she was alright before she went to bed. She said, ‘Well, alright boys you have your drink and then will you please go.’ So that was as near as we got anything committing anything wrong but we’ve never forgotten it. We’ve never forgotten that. But what that innocent things you did.
MS: Yeah.
MR: And we did. But —
MS: You lived on Avondale Road.
MR: Do you want me to say about the Avondale —
MS: Yeah. Please. If I just, have you got my phone there Anita? Just let me put it on standby for a second.
MR: Ok.
[recording paused]
MS: Ok. Right. We’re just going to continue the recording now. I’ve been sent a photograph by Peter Jones. That’s Thomas Street. The bombing.
MR: Yes. That’s right.
MS: Does that remind you of anything?
MR: Yes. Yeah.
MS: Can you tell me about that?
MR: That was, that was after Avondale Street. It didn’t go off. The bomb there. And this, this Alma, Alma [unclear] Alma, her, her aunty lived in, she lost, one of the houses was her —
MS: Yeah.
MR: Was her aunt’s house. And in Thomas, but Avondale Street the only one that got killed was he was opening the air raid shelter. Well, my father said, ‘We’re not putting our name down for that.’ We had a very big strong mahogany family table so he said, ‘We’re not having one of those,’ things you could have in the house that you all got in, ‘We’re going under that.’
MS: A Morrison shelter.
MR: Morrison. But we weren’t having one of them. We were going under this mahogany table if anything happened. Well, the only night my father ever went out to his club was Friday night. My mother went. We had this big room. Then we had a smaller room. Then you had a scullery. And she went to check on the blackout and she said, ‘Oh, my goodness me,’ she said, ‘Something’s happening.’ And they send little lights down. Something. And she come back. Brother yelling his head off because he couldn’t find the cat. He was, he was the youngest she says, and all of a sudden and this, I might not be here talking to you now if it hadn’t have happened. She said, ‘We’re going under the stairs. I’m turning the gas off.’ And that was, well everybody when I went back to work said, ‘Well Millie, that was absolutely wonderful wasn’t it?’ I said, ‘It was.’ We all come, my father he came off Monks Road and our house was the top one and you come down the passage in, in the gate to the back door. Well, he just got down here and he come in the back door and there was such a heck of a crash and that and our chimney and a part of the wall went down and the fire came out of the fire and went under the mahogany table. But it didn’t set the house on fire. It burned all under the table but the blast was so severe it sent the fire out. Well, good gracious me.
MS: If you’d been under the table.
MR: My dad heard the siren go you see for the thing so he ran home you see. And but that was two miracles. My dad could have gone because he’d, if he hadn’t just gone like that he would have been killed by the thing. Well, then we were so upset because the two houses where the lovely man died opening the so called air raid shelter and the salvation dog saved them but they lost their homes.
MS: Yeah. Was your house still usable?
MR: Well, we had to come out of it because there was no water or gas or something. So we went up to my grandmas. Well, then my grandad died. And then my grandma was worried about all these airmen and things about living in a huge house on her own. So when it was thing we, we let it to the RAF and we stayed at grandma’s ‘til I got married like. I was there. But, and that’s how we come that we used to bike up and count the planes from Scampton because you soon got Scampton there and got to know all about that like.
MS: Did you have any other experience of being bombed?
MR: Well, that was, that was then. Oh well [pause] I worked at Gilbert’s Garage.
MS: Yeah.
MR: This, you won’t think this in this day and age, but there were three offices. There were two men and me in one office. And when you go to get your petrol today and that and there were only petrol pumps mind you, but they were only not so much a lot of new cars but of course there was all the mechanics. But when the soldiers had to come out of France they commandeered all the building above the ground. They commandeered it and these Royal Engineers what they were doing up the college on Monks Road I don’t know but they were here. And I’ve got photos here. That’s two of them. That’s one of them and that’s two.
MS: They were upstairs in the garage.
MR: They were two. They used to work there and Miss Gilbert she lived in the estate at Sudbrook. It wasn’t like Subrooke now. She had, you could go and play tennis and that. She used to do a wonderful Christmas party for them and that. And these two came from up Lancashire way and they both had girlfriends and yeah, that was something different, but all they were doing was getting ready to go back. So who knows in this book how many of those ever got back to —
MS: Yeah.
MR: Or of them got back to their families and their homes or they just and they were, they weren’t much older than us some of the, some of the airmen that we danced with and that. And —
MS: Can I ask you a question? You, you got Guy Gibson’s signature. His autograph.
MR: I haven’t now.
MS: Ah. But you did get it during the war.
MR: Yeah. I did for a long time.
MS: Do you want to tell us how you got that?
MR: Well, you could, would it be best to read that, Joy. This is what my son in law did. He was a bit like you but —
MS: I hope that’s nice.
MR: He said, well he was really with the thing and anyway he said, well Pilot Officer Smith was stationed at my grandma’s before we went to live there and he, he was older. He was fine. He never flew a plane.
MS: Yeah.
MR: And like I said when you see that film and you see Wallis and he’s so upset at the loss of the men’s lives. And Guy Gibson comes and he said, ‘Get the doctor to give you something to sleep.’ And he said, ‘What about you?’ And the actor says, ‘I’ve got some letters to write.’ Well, that was, I think and he meant that that was the sort of job that he did and sending all the belongings back and that and I always think of that. But his wife. They were bombed in London so they came up to Lincoln. They had a six year old daughter so I used to baby sit and he only said to me, ‘I’ll take your book,’ all these things that had been in. ‘I’ll take your book and put something in Millie.’ And I then get it back and then he of course people, people are just being amazed. It’s so strange. The times I’ve had to get this book out to show this. And if I happened to say anything to the grandchildren, some of these names, ‘I don’t know them, grandma.’ The very first one that I got in from the theatre was Will Fyffe. Did you know Will Fyffe?
MS: It’s strange. Is that music? The music hall.
MR: This is somebody I might have married if things, if I hadn’t met Albert.
MS: Does your daughter need to know this? [laughs]
JL: [unclear]
MR: Because he was, no he was fighting in Italy.
MS: Yeah.
MR: And he won the military medal. You know, in that terrible Casino.
MS: Oh yeah. Monte Casino.
MR: Monte Casino. And he used to send me silk stocking which you wore one night and they all laddered. But when he come home my father, I really with Albert and I it was first meeting was, it was it, you know like. So I felt absolutely dreadful and he said, ‘Well, he’s coming home.’ And we’ve offered to have him because it was, I mean they all knew him. He said, ‘So you’ve got to tell him.’ Took me a week to tell him but I mean Albert had had girlfriends before anyway and but this is all 1941 time that, he won it in 1942 that. But to me there’s so many there, but they did make all of a sudden it was such a fuss of that raid but there was lots and lots and lots that we knew about the raid.
MS: Can I —
MR: Now, I can see it now. This is a strange thing in war. We had some friends, Mr and Mrs Withers that belonged the Baptist Church. His parents owned all that where the big hall is, and all that property that became a cinema and that and I didn’t know that at the end of the war German prisoners of war in Wellingore and that used to go to the football match. Have the freedom and they were, and this young man, German, Helmut. He, he went and joined the Youth Club. And Mrs Withers was so sorry for him. His mother was starving in Germany. He was just ready to go to university when he had to go into the Army. He was one that was saved in a battle. Just a few of them. He, his life changed at Wellingore. He learned better English and everything. And anyway the Withers kept friends with him and they were much the same as us. Saving for a home in Germany near Bonn. Same as us. And they had two girls and the girls, grown up and he told Mrs Withers that he was going to bring them to Wellingore and, but she’d got her mother in law staying with her. She couldn’t put four up so she came to me and said, ‘Would you have the girls?’ Because our Sandra was learning German at that time at school. So I said, ‘Yes. I’ll have them.’ So they came, so [pause] and we became such friends. We were going without the children for our silver wedding somewhere. We was picking where to go. ‘No. No. No. You mustn’t do that. You must come to us,’ and, but it meant taking the two girls. Joy was, you was married then wasn’t you, Joy? Yes because she had James didn’t you?
MS: Yeah. Yeah.
MR: And so we went and I took the girls. Oh, and then the girls came back again and we went to Coventry so I took them and told them all about Coventry and that. So they took me to Cologne. Then our Sandra had a teacher that got up. What was it Dresden that they burned it?
MS: Yeah.
MR: That was the most horrible thing to have been done and this, and our Sandra had a teacher that got up from that. Parents, everything gone. So we went to Coventry and of course we took them on to Shakespeare and everything else. That sort of thing. And we kept friends until they both died. And we said, ‘Well, girls this is war. This is what war is.’
MS: Yeah.
MR: Ordinary people. But he appreciated Churchill and that. You couldn’t, you could give him anything. Take him a book about Churchill or anything. And he was a lovely man. He was just like my husband, and we were just [pause] And do you know what she did? Every day when we were going somewhere we got down and had a German breakfast. There were greaseproof bags. We packed our own sandwiches. She had, she had a cellar that used to have coal in and then it was all done naturally for a freezer. I haven’t got a freezer like that. And she had done all these meals and then we went where ever we went and the whole day of it. And then we’d come back and she’d have this meal. It would all be in the freezer all done. And you know, you think I want to get now her story. Her father, they were near the coast and they were farmers. And her brother got killed bombing Poland at the beginning. He was in the German Air Force. He got killed. And she didn’t know until after the war that her father had saved two English prisoners of war that had escaped. And they come around and they all had to be, you know because she belonged the German, had to belong to the German Youth Club. She had to say all that she did and she didn’t know ‘til it come to her father and her father took the English persons and brought up two uniforms.
MS: So the Germans saved two English.
MR: Of the, he got two away and you hear that. I mean how that came into my life just because this because Mrs Withers took a family in but they were, they were really nice, nice genuine people you know.
MS: Can I, can I just show you a photograph? I’m just going to pause this?
[recording paused]
MS: That’s evidence of bombing on Thomas Street.
MR: Yes. Yeah.
MS: That’s not far from the Arboretum is it?
MR: Oh, no. It’s, we used to go. Just go for a stroll. Oh, it was a beautiful place.
MS: Now that got hit by bombs as well, didn’t it?
MR: Yes. It did. I think if I’m right it was one Sunday. All the beautiful, all one you went. The green house was beautiful and the nurses home got bombed. They had, they had a home where the nurses used to live and train.
MS: Yes.
MR: Going to the hospital. It all went. Another thing that happened was an English plane came and where the High School is, you know Greestone Stairs.
MS: Yes.
MR: And just on the right there where the teachers lived and that at the teachers got killed and the, the airmen in the plane and you see look how near they were too home.
MS: Are you saying that the plane crashed on the —
MR: Oh yes. Yes.
MS: Right.
MR: Well, it went in. That was in, we had little incidents like that. We had an incident on Dixon Street. Two houses there. You can see the oddity if you ever come down Dixon Street of two that are like flats.
MS: Nearly at the end.
MR: Yeah. Well, my father in law was the firewatcher. You know. Well, he was on duty and I didn’t know this that you can get fish and chips without any food coupons. But we never had fish and chips in our house in those days so I didn’t know about this. But my mother in law said to her daughter, ‘We’ll go and get some fish and chips, Rose,’ but while they were getting their fish and chips the siren went and the blackout like. So they were coming back to eat their fish and chips and the warden stopped them and he, ‘Don’t you know that the alarm’s gone? You shouldn’t be out here.’ It was only [laughs] it was only the husband and the father in the blackout. They didn’t even know each other. But Rose said she’d never forget that. Telling them off. But anyway the siren hadn’t gone. They didn’t go after the siren you know like and that and they reckon that that plane was following somebody who was signalling but that couldn’t be because you were allowed to have a torch and hold it down. And if somebody wouldn’t bother. They often used to think somebody up Westwick Drive had it. We only had oddities. I mean the one that we had at Gilbert’s, our foreman at the cycle shop he got killed. They had a fish and chip shop. The family. Near the, near the football field somewhere. And he got killed. Just a lone German plane. Didn’t want to go home with his bombs and his things and he just machine gunned him. But when you’re on the spot you know, oh I mean I’m so far, I’ve never driven a car in my life. So we always had to make sure because we had to move these blinking cars. I mean [laughs] and I’ll always remember winning two chickens. The two men that worked, why they weren’t in the forces I don’t know. Used to smoke continually and one of them was in a band so he was always ready for his raffle tickets and whatever where ever they were playing. So I got these raffle tickets and I won two chickens. All with their feathers on and everything.
MS: Alive?
MR: No. No. They weren’t alive. They were dead, thank God [laughs] I walked home with them. Well, my mother, we ate, we ate one but the other one she had to mince it because it was that tough. But she plucked it and everything. But I did, you did get, you did get some things, but it was and then going down, going down to the station when a lot of Lincoln boys got prisoners of war from right at the beginning with Norway. And Stokes’ shop as you know, the coffee shop, Major Stokes lost so many men. And we went down to the station. A friend’s brother was there and he was a prisoner of war the whole of the war and we followed him and he landed in Poland. A prisoner of war. They kept moving him and he had you could I don’t know what you’d call it. You play a thing and it —
JL: An organ. A concertina organ.
MS: An organ.
MR: A concertina.
MS: Oh right.
MR: And it was all sad. And they let him go to other camps playing. It was really and he, when he came home he said how they’d crawled out and pinched some food on the farm and they got away with it and that. But he was there the whole of the war. Then he had to leave his thing because he was on the, they marched them. Paid a potato a day if he had that and just if they died they were just there. Well, he came home and his lovely wife they’d married in ’38. Lovely house going off Monks Road. Tandem bike. And she never moved that bike out the thing and she would never go with us dancing. She never did and when he come home he had to go to St George’s Hospital through malnutrition. You know to be brought up to, and they had two babies in the pram at the same time. That was lovely. And, she’s somebody in my autograph book. Eileen [unclear] lived opposite them and we used to try and persuade her but she never would and she worked in a lovely dress shop. She went to work, she saved her money and, and he was there the whole of the war. You know it just —
MS: [unclear] Can I just ask you one, another question if you, well a couple actually. One —you were at school for part of the war.
MR: Only at the beginning.
MS: Yeah.
MR: I went to work at fourteen.
MS: Did you lose any friends at school? Any schoolfriends through war?
MR: Well, I can’t, I don’t remember because I’ve got this one friend that I kept friends with, a man friend. They were mostly girls. But do you know I don’t know of anybody. Not that was at, not that was at school. Certainly knew people that when I was at work every day. I mean you heard some awful, I mean one girl had a brother in the Japanese camp. I mean well you just took it as [pause] you know. We just said a prayer for him and that but I can’t remember. I didn’t really know anybody that, no it came different when I left. We, we had to I went to night school. I really learned more at night school then I did at school actually, and but you walked. I had to walk home in the blackout but that’s another thing. You never got all this trouble in the High Street. There was the American snowmen. There was the police. Police. You never had any trouble. And of course we didn’t go drinking like or anything so we wasn’t in that crowd that maybe they did find trouble. But I can’t think of it. Except of course the teacher, Mr Teasdale. I mean he joined up. Because you see they wouldn’t be joining up age when I left school would they?
MS: No.
MR: You see, so many at the beginning waited until they were called up. They didn’t, like the First World War go and you know get the King’s Shilling and all that carry on. It wasn’t like that. I mean, and then if you was under the age your father had to sign. I mean some got away with it I suppose but not many. You know.
MS: No.
MR: But it’s just, it’s just a thing that all the trouble today and everything you just, you just wonder don’t you? I mean.
MS: War distracts you.
MR: Yeah. I mean the man. Well, it’s true what somebody was saying. There was some people talking. I didn’t understand half of it, but how I look at it everything that’s been invented, the plane wasn’t invented to drop bombs from it. Every single thing that is. Of course Albert’s mother worked on the tank. She, you go to Bovington is it? What they call it? Near Bournemouth. You go. We’ve been to that museum and that great big thing and all the girls in front. She was eighteen working on the tank.
MS: Bovington.
MR: Yeah. I think that’s what it was.
MS: Yeah.
MR: It was a long time ago that we went. But she, that’s another story about that, and grandad, Albert’s dad he was in the end of the war but then he saw something else. He had to go to Ireland which was horrible. He was confirmed in the Cathedral in Ireland. I’ve got his, all his little things. But —
MS: That was following the First World War, yeah. That was the time of the civil war in Ireland.
MR: Yeah. Between the First World War, when it ended and that and all Ireland. And —
MS: Can I just ask Anita? Anita, have you got any notes there?
AS: Can I just ask you one thing? You mentioned about the chimney coming down in your house.
MR: Oh yeah.
AS: And then you, after that you went to live with your grandparents.
MR: Yes.
AS: Can you remember sort of how you felt when you was bombed out of your house? What you were able to take with you and things like that?
MR: Well, we had to sit. We sat in the back, the smaller room. The room that the chimney didn’t come down. We sat there because we had to wait. Everybody had to wait where they were for instructions. And all we had to drink was some ginger wine. There was just a bottle of ginger wine. Well, it doesn’t quench your thirst really. And then we were all thinking what we were going to do but when they came we had to go to the church on Monks Road for dinner. But that did a thing. A friend of my father lived in Thomas Street and he had his life savings in the mattress. And it was my uncle that was a police, special policeman that was keeping people from going. But I do know that that man did get his money out before they set the bomb off.
MS: He was lucky.
MR: I do know that. Only by listening. But we went, we went there and I went to a friend’s to just get washed and go to work. Everybody did the same. I can’t imagine what my mother did I’m sure. But now, going down was St Swithin’s School I think they called it and all these windows in these blasts of Thomas Street it’s not far away it was the windows and the man I married was working on those windows. Just starting his apprenticeship to be a plumber.
MS: Coincidence.
MR: When I walked past. Never knew him from Adam then. And then when we like, we had the lads at work used to go to these dances and Len Bradbury said, ‘Oh this is a friend come on leave. He lives down our street Millie. Albert Roberts.’ ‘Oh,’ he says, the music had started, he said, ‘Would you like a drink?’ You didn’t have alcoholic drinks in those days in dancing places. And had a drink and that was it. But I’ll tell while courting, I lived in Riseholme Road. Just imagine this. He lived in Alfred Street. So when you’d been dancing like he had to take me home. Well, he didn’t have to but he did. And then he walked back. So when I was twenty one he said, ‘We can’t keep going doing this. It’s stupid.’ So we planned to get married at the Easter which the Queen had got married in the November. I got married in the Easter. And yeah it all worked out alright because we had sixty seven years. And the only thing I envied the Queen she’s got her Phillip and I haven’t got my Albert.
MS: Oh. Sorry about that.
MR: Yeah. I am but you can’t go on forever.
MS: No.
MR: You would be sad if you lived to hundred. And I, and I dread anybody living like that. But it’s so strange, and so many things have happened.
JL: Your sister married an American didn’t she? She was a GI bride.
MR: Oh yes. Oh well, that was in the family. My father, she was a tomboy so she was always with my dad when we went out anywhere and she was kind she is. She got into trouble when we was walking when we lived at Reepham. We was walking. They used to leave the tar things at the side of the road when they used to come to do the road. Quite a lovely operation and a lovely smell. It used to clear your head. And if any child had had whooping cough or anything a mother would take them there to the tar barrels to smell in the air. And she went and she got this lovely new dress and she leant up on this.
MS: No.
MR: She was a tomboy. And yes she married, he had two it was nice for my mother because he had two postings over here. One at [unclear] and one at Fairford. We went to Fairford. It was Fairford we went to didn’t it?
JL: I stayed with the school [unclear]
MR: And she wanted to take the two elder boys to London before they went back to America. So they left the younger one to, with me. With my three. I had three girls. She had three boys. And she left me.
MS: Are you ok?
MR: Yes. Thank you. I’ve, if I have got it here these are just things that I must put some of these things in that I [pause] It brought me [pause] Oh Joy, I think it’s in the thing. I was just going to show you this.
MS: I’ll move this.
MR: Tom’s —
MS: Are you ok, duck? I’m just going to put this on pause for a second while Millie just finds something for us to look at.
[recording paused]
JL: On them.
MR: Yeah.
JL: Going off on the Queen Mary.
MR: Yes. My dad took her down to the Queen Mary.
MS: This is your sister, Adeline.
MR: Yes. And she wasn’t married until she got to New York. It was all arranged. She was going to get married in New York, and she travelled with him to all his relatives to where he had to go next. To Texas. And then they got moved a lot didn’t they?
MS: Was this during the war?
MR: She was a traveller. If she came back here she would leave the children with my mother or us and she would go. A friend that married an American could see their family in Ireland. She would go. She always was going somewhere.
JL: But during the war when you worked at Gilbert’s she was at—
MR: International Stores.
JL: Yeah.
MR: Well, there amazingly this friend that rang me last night we was saying how many places there was where Binns is. There was Bainbridge’s, there was the International Stores and then you went up and goodness knows what that place was. You went up some steps to a café when you go around the corner.
[telephone ringing]
MS: I’ll just put this on hold. Bear with me a second.
[recording paused]
MR: There was so many which might become again mightn’t they? Might it?
MS: Let me hold this a second.
[recording paused]
MR: But it was very lucky that they were here because it would have cost them a lot coming back. But one time wasn’t it that mother died and they were, but —
MS: Can I ask you a question? She worked at International Stores.
MR: Yes.
MS: Right, and during the war there was rationing.
MR: Oh yes. Yes. Weighing. Weighing everything up and that. Yes. I’ll tell you. Oh no. That wouldn’t be in the war.
MS: Go on.
MR: It would, that would be ’47 when we had the worst snow we ever had here. On Riseholme Road, now don’t, don’t think I’m exaggerating because I’m not. There was snow seven foot high. They cleared all the roads, and they cleared it and cleared it and where the Yarborough School is there it was so high it froze so it was there ‘til May. It really was. And you’ve, well I volunteered. They were trying to get food to lonely people in the country that had a long way to go to any transport or anything. And they was hearing of so many things. And it was through our Adeline that I went to help and went one day and we went to this house and the husband was either in the forces or away or something. And the little girl, she was so cold. There was no fire. No food in the house. And we took her to a farm where everybody had to go and we took her to this farm. It was like a Dickens scene. The great big table with food on. A great big fire going. And they was just bringing everybody to this better place, you know, like. That was the worst. We used to walk to work, Yarborough Road and that, with, with snow over your wellies and we never was late. You used to wait ‘til there weren’t that many vehicles but there were and if there was a big one you walked at the back of it. But it was just the thing you did because you did. And all the bedrooms. The bedrooms had frost on. Beautiful pictures but oh was you cold.
MS: I bet they didn’t close the schools.
MR: No. No. No. Well, some of them would have been grateful to be at school, I think. No. They, they had no reason because the heat wouldn’t go off and the boiler wouldn’t have been [laughs] it meant a person lighting the fire didn’t it? No. It’s very strange. You can’t. You can’t describe what. I’ve been, I’ve been so lucky. I’ve just imagined having an ordinary. Well ’63 was here wasn’t it? It was the frost and Albert, we were twenty four hour call. Well, that was something wasn’t it?
MS: Because he was a plumber, wasn’t he?
MR: Yeah. There was people coming back. There was an OP girl come back to her house. The radiators had burst and you could hardly understand what she was saying. It, it was just at a time people had gone on holidays and oh it was, it was awful. ’63. Our Caroline said, ‘When am I having my breakfast grandma?’ The first time in my life that I’d ever had a bouquet of flowers. The firm sent this bouquet of flowers because the men. Some people thought I was having an all-night party. I was having all Simons vans. All the plumbers lining up to go for a job. And the lady, the lovely lady next door, semi-detached Mrs Rimmer lent me some vases and they told, they said it was my birthday. It was January you see. But we were the only house down Sunningdale Drive that didn’t get frozen up. All the others did. I’ll tell you for why. A lovely builder friend of my husbands’ let Albert do his own plumbing and his own painting and he, and he did do. It took him from the Easter ‘til we moved in in the August sort of thing. September time.
JL: When I started school.
MR: When we moved in to our own home. We were seven years on Newport saving up. We had a tin. I only outed it when we come here. And it was just coal and food and clothes and not a holiday. We saved up for seven years. And that’s the way we got a house of our own. I’m not ashamed to say that we paid for our own wedding. Neither parents could afford a wedding. Just because I said, ‘Oh just let’s, let us go, you know’ and, ‘No. You’re having a white wedding. People don’t have white weddings then they’re sorry that they hadn’t.’ So we had all the trouble of organising this and they, and if you go to a hotel, and that horrible hotel opposite the station there that they’re not doing anything with was a lovely hotel. And we had a chicken. We had sixty people sit down with coupons because you had to give coupons if you went to a hotel. A chicken dinner. And I went over to the station and we got, we went to Bournemouth and we have got the thing. Eastergate Court. Because we got married at Easter that’s the only reason we picked it. Four pound ten. Breakfast, dinner and tea. Beautiful trees just outside Bournemouth. And, but the thing was we were just getting married, I lost my, I used to get bad throats at any excitement or anything so I just thought it was that. Going in the train I got hotter and hotter. Went to bed. Oh, went to the toilet first, and said to Albert, ‘You’ll have to go to the toilet. You’ll have to go.’ It was all Wedgewood when you pulled the chain. Never in your life. So we looked at our room. A lovely double bed and a single bed in the room. And a view outside, ‘Oh, this is lovely.’ In the morning I couldn’t eat any breakfast and we said we’ll just go for a walk and Al said, ‘What on earth is the matter with you?’ Collapsed in the gutter. Near to a chemist thank goodness, and went in this chemist. He said, ‘Well, I think you ought to go along here because where you said you’re staying, that is their doctor. It would be a good idea to take your wife there.’ So we went and come home. I ummed and ahhed about getting a posh nightie because it was coupons. I didn’t make the nightie and I ended up wearing Albert’s pyjama top to keep warm. And oh gosh did I get hot. I’d got quinces. And the lovely doctor had been in the war at Woodhall Spa so there was he, I couldn’t speak a word like. I bet they were pleased. Albert went to the football match on his own on his honeymoon. And he kept going, and then he went and a school friend, they had got married the Easter Monday. We got married the Saturday after Easter and they were on their honeymoon and saw him.
MS: On his own.
MR: ‘Where’s Millie then?’ ‘In bed.’ So of course I went in the single bed and the very nice doctor, he said, ‘Could you stay another week?’ Well, when we paid everything we had exactly seven pounds between us. Nothing else in the world but seven pounds and so we can’t. And my husband and I learned from a man before I married him that work would always come first and my daughter can say this. Question this. Work first. Family next. He says to this doctor, ‘We can’t possibly stop. I’ve left a woman with a half a bathroom.’ He looked at me. He looked at me. This poor doctor looked at me. He said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you something she is not going back to Lincoln unless she eats one meal.’ And that morning the lady that lived there she brought the tray to me. She said, ‘I want to see that cleared when you go.’ And there were some primroses on it and you held the bread and butter up, you could have looked through it. And there was something my husband hated and I loved. Yellow haddock.
MS: Oh yes.
MR: And I did eat it all. Well, when I got home some laughed and some were extremely sorry but poor Albert did get, he did get ribbed for that. He really did.
MS: What year was this?
MR: ’48.
MS: ’48. In the years immediately after the war.
MR: ’48, wasn’t it? Yeah. And we had our diamond wedding in 2008. 2008, and but yes. Then we had another thing when my first baby. It was near Christmas. Everything happens to us near Christmas. And in the 50s you must see the midwife programme. Well, it was like that. I couldn’t get in to the only maternity place in Lincoln. Well as I thought. I learned a lot after. You know you don’t really know a lot of things and I didn’t know. And I couldn’t get in so I was going to have it at home. So we were ten shillings a week rent. Mr Porter’s house. He was like Arkwright’s shop near the teacher’s college. A little goldmine sold everything and rations as well. And he told me grandma when the house, Kelly’s were going to go in Newport Post Office. His wife was going to do that and he was a baker. He says, ‘I know they’re leaving and I know your granddaughter’s getting married,’ and in them days it would be a marvel, ‘She can have the house.’ Outside loo and a black lead grate. Well, Albert had gone to the football match and I knew this baby was coming. Anyway, the midwife was there by the time he got home. And it was just took from me. And the young doctor came to take Dr [unclear] son’s place. He was the only one of his boys that became a doctor and he ended in a iron lung. Do you know where you, where the big water tank was in the war at the Cathedral? You know at the side there.
MS: Yes, just below there.
MR: And the, belonged the school [unclear] well he was in an iron lung there and anybody would put hand up as you were going past would put up a hand to you. And this doctor, Dr Lane came from London just, just starting out to replace him. He couldn’t get me to the hospital. And my mother with Albert sometimes or Albert on his own they expressed my milk and he took it. Nothing hygienic or anything. Just put it in something. Used to walk through Newport Cemetery sometimes to the old hospital and we didn’t have a telephone but my father, if there was anything urgent they had a phone then. He was going to knock at the drainpipe so that I didn’t hear if Albert was needed. And he’d only come the day before. He’d fed this baby and he come up the stairs. I could tell he was coming two at a time, ‘Oh we shall soon have her home,’ he said, ‘I’ve gave her her feed.’ And the next day he just went back and she’d died. And we had used Fred Threadgold for that funeral as well. But no horses.
MS: I’m sorry about that.
MR: No. It’s alright because you could walk. It was just so near. And when I’m buried where my husband is buried we’re very near to that doctor. And he was the doctor when you was all born. But he, but when we came, had the first [unclear] he said, ‘It’s silly when the children get there, and you can’t be sending for me, I’ve got.’ So then we came down here. So I thought my poor husband what on earth did he think he was going to marry? But do you know that doctor was very sensible. He said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with either of you. It’s just one of these things that has happened. Have a lovely holiday and start again.’ And we did and we went down with Albert’s mum and dad, and Albert’s sister and her friend down to Brighton and got photos of us all dressed up on Brighton Pier with handbags and a brooch. You’ve never in your life. And when we came home from that, ‘Right,’ Albert says, ‘I don’t want to talk about our mishap ever.’ And that’s why this one was called Joy.
JL: It was the doctor’s idea wasn’t it?
MR: Yes.
MS: That’s lovely.
MR: Yeah.
MS: Yes. A lovely idea.
MR: And perfect because we paid, and Albert said, ‘There you are, you see. You don’t get nothing unless you pay for it.’ And we went in the Eastholme, and then Sandra was born there. And then I had Caroline. But I wanted Caroline at home because it was so near Christmas when we got the two girls. And a lovely old midwife she only did one more after Caroline and I had the Salvation Army Band outside playing, “Away in a Manger.’ I always think, I always think that was very special. But, but you never know in life do you?
MS: No.
MR: But it was and then of course dad died at Christmas didn’t he? Bitterly cold. And that was my sister and my baby and my husband. So let’s hope it doesn’t happen again. Let’s have a midsummer for goodness sake.
MS: Have a good Christmas.
MR: Yeah. Well, there you are.
MS: We’re going to run out of time shortly on this. Is there anything else you can think of that you want to tell us or anything Joy you can remember because you may have heard mum’s stories.
MR: Important.
MS: Mainly during the war.
MR: Oh well, you didn’t know the war did you?
JL: I remember Avondale Street.
MR: Pardon dear?
JL: I remember you talking about Avondale Street and the Arboretum. And I think —
MR: Yeah.
JL: I’ve always been fascinated with Auntie Adi being a GI bride.
MS: A war bride.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
JL: I don’t think she had ever left Lincoln before and then to travel to go on the —
MR: But she was like that.
JL: Yes.
MR: You see, Adeline was one that when you went to [Whisby?] you could put your name down to pick strawberries in your school holiday. Or you could, and she was the one and International Stores. She went to relieve at other places. I’ve got my dad and her walking to where she was going to stay when she went to Skegness. She was just like, to tell you the truth she was three years younger than me but somebody said one day, I can’t remember what it was, ‘Can’t your sister speak for herself?’ Well, you see me talking now. Because she was always older than me and she was always in to anything more than me. She always knew things better than me.
MS: Did you say she was a bit of a tomboy?
ML: Yes. She was a tomboy.
JL: Where did she meet Tom?
MR: I’ve no idea.
JL: Right.
MR: Well, there you are. She could only go dancing if she went with me. Well, we [pause] that was awful for me because she always had somebody she was going to see. Maybe it was a girlfriend but at that time, half this time she was meeting Tom.
JL: And she went on your bicycle.
MR: Oh yeah. Oh, and I had my stockings were gone where you took great care of them. And yes she was, she was a toughie but where we slept underneath was the Edwardian greenhouse. The garage was over there with this lovely old car that in the war there’s a garage there. There’s a photo of it. When you sat in it we children, believe it or not had, our Betty had the stool and you travelled to the seaside with your back on the door sort of thing. But if you were sitting good and posh there was like a cord to hold and a blind to pull down and very oh you thought you were somebody there. Anyway, she wasn’t there where she said she would be so I come home. Everybody was asleep and there was these pebbles going up the window and she said, ‘Come and unlock the door.’ I said, ‘I can’t.’ I don’t know why I couldn’t get the door open. And so she got in the garage and gets the ladder out, puts it over this greenhouse top and comes in. So I said, ‘Now what are you going to do?’ She said, ‘Well, I’m going to get up early and get rid of the ladder.’ Which she did. Nobody knew. I wouldn’t have told of her. But I said, ‘I’m not going, you’re not going to use me like that Adeline, you’re just not.’ And I wouldn’t have anything more to do with it. And when she went to America like that and I wrote and I knew somebody, a friend in Lonsdale Road when she got out she found out that she’d married, she’d married over here. So that was Irene Toogood. That was who —
MS: Adi had married here?
MR: No. This friend had found out that he was married when she got married.
MS: Oh.
MR: You know. Well, I knew that. So, I wrote to Adi and said, “Don’t write to mum and dad if you’re in trouble. Write to us and we’ll see what we can do for you.” Gosh you ought to have seen the letter I got back. You know, “What do you think I am? I’ll fight my own battles and you fight yours.” So she was like that wasn’t she?
JL: Yeah.
MR: Yeah. But I don’t know where I’ve put the, I don’t know where I’ve put it Joy. It’s in, it’s in a thing like this but it’s not, it’s only got, but its marked. It’s as old as Caroline.
JL: I’ve seen some pictures of you.
MR: No. It won’t be.
JL: Early wartime.
MS: Oh right. Who are these then?
MR: This is Albert. This is me in [unclear] Yard. It poured with rain and we went in for shelter really. That was my husband’s sister and her husband. And that’s my husband and, but he’s [pause] Oh that’s when we went to London.
MS: And meeting Churchill.
MR: Yeah. Well that’s a laugh. At the museum.
MS: Oh right. I was just going to say it’s a waxwork. Right.
MR: At the bottom he’s put, “I told him I played for Boultham Park Rangers” They formed a football team. I’ve got a photo of it somewhere. Oh, there’s all the lads that, the messenger boys that joined up.
MS: Yes.
MR: That’s the football team. See how they dressed. And Albert’s dad was manager and his cousin was something else and they used to play where the university is now.
MS: Yeah.
MR: And this is when we was in London after we lost the baby and Rose, she laughed her socks off. They weren’t used to going to London so you know when the train comes on the Underground? I jumped on thinking they’d all jump on. Nobody jumped on. They’d never been to London before. So when we got to the next station I got off and said, ‘What can I do?’ It was different from today. There was always somebody there to help. And they said, ‘I’ll ring through and see if they know.’ But they had very wisely said, ‘We’re going to stay put.’ We were going to see Ivor Novello in London and they did stay put. So I said I’ll go back on the train again but the, that’s unusual. That’s my husband in his toy car.
MS: Right.
MR: And this is two of Joy’s grandchildren in, look at, look at that.
MS: Similar.
MR: That car. Very similar isn’t it?
MS: Yeah. Yeah.
MR: But I don’t know where —
JL: [unclear] this one.
MR: It won’t, no that’s not it. That’s —
JL: That’s an older one.
MS: Which one are you looking for at the moment?
JL: [unclear]
MR: I was just looking.
JL: Of Auntie Adeline.
MS: Oh right.
MR: She’ll find it after. I don’t know where it’s gone.
MS: No. Is there —
MR: Anyway, I don’t know. The trouble is I could go on and on. One or two of these grandchildren say I’ll go on about things but I just don’t know why.
MS: Well, can I just sort of take you to the end of the interview if that’s alright? Unless — if that’s ok with all of you?
MR: Yes. Thank you.
MS: Are you all happy with that? Anita is there anything from you?
MR: If you’ve got it all. If it’s any good.
MS: What I need to do now is go through some sort of bullet points here. Can I just check that you confirm that you consented to take part in this recording?
MR: Yes. I did.
MS: You’re happy. Yeah.
MR: Yeah.
MS: And they’re asking you to assign to the university all copyright in your contribution for use in all and any media. So what, they’re asking you to let them use it.
MR: Oh yes. They are welcome to anything.
MS: Film or video. Ok. And you understand this won’t affect your moral right to be identified as the performer in accordance with the Copyright Design and Patents Act. it’s complicated. It sounds complicated. It’s actually very simple.
MR: Yes.
MS: You just allow them to use it.
MR: Yeah.
MS: But you will be always recognised —
MR: Yeah.
MS: As the person who made the recording. Now, are you happy that your name will be publicly associated with the interview? So what that means if they play it at the IBCC Centre it would have your name there. If they put it into any written form.
MR: That’s alright isn’t it?
JL: Yes. There’s nothing. As you say we’re not drug dealers are we?
MR: You ought to answer that. I mean I might not be here but —
MS: You will be.
MR: Oh please.
MS: But all your personal details will be stored under strict confidential conditions and will not be shared with any third parties. So basically what it means is that we’ll store your information but it won’t go out anywhere.
MR: No.
MS: And they’re asking you to grant your permission for me to take a quick photograph on my phone which will be put, associated with the archive.
JL: Yeah. That would be nice.
MR: Yeah.
MS: Are you happy with that?
MR: Yes. I’ll let you.
MS: Yeah. Ok. And do you agree to your interview being available via the internet? Online. So if somebody wants to hear part of it they’ll be able to hear you talking.
MR: Well, I’m not online am I?
JL: Yes. No. No. But yes.
MS: Other people. Yeah
JL: Yeah. Just if any, it’ll only be through.
MS: The university.
JL: Through the university website. Yes. Yes.
MS: Yeah.
JL: So it won’t be like a Facebook type thing.
MS: No. No.
JL: Kind of think. It would just be very small.
MS: Anybody who goes to the IBCC.
JL: Yes. Then if they wanted to know more they could.
MS: Yeah. Yeah. But they wouldn’t, wouldn’t get your mum’s personal details.
JL: No. No.
MS: Or anything like that.
JL: No. They would just —
MS: Ok?
JL: They would just hear about.
MS: Yeah.
JL: Avondale Street.
MS: That’s it.
JL: And bits.
MS: Yeah. The interesting bits.
JL: Yes.
MS: And do you agree, sorry this agreement is governed by and then there’s in accordance with English law and the jurisdiction of the English courts. It always sounds really formal when we’re saying this. It’s just making sure that your rights are maintained and that the university is able to use the interview literally just to let people in the future know what it was like.
MR: It’s amazing they need it.
MS: I know. No.
JL: You’ve got some good memories, mum of Lincoln.
MR: That’s what everybody says.
JL: [unclear]
MS: You will. You know the older you get the further back you go.
MR: Well, you’ve done so much. You do so much now that I haven’t. I haven’t done a lot like you.
JL: Well —
MR: I mean all three of you have done much more than me. I mean I’m really I was just a plumber’s mate and a mother really at the end of it all.
MS: No.
JL: Well, you were the reason dad achieved so much. You were there with his hot lunch every day.
MR: Yeah.
MS: Ok.
JL: Once we were in town and you looked up at the cathedral and you said, ‘Your father’s lunch,’ and I didn’t see you for dust. You know you always had that hot meal ready for him and his shirts ironed.
MR: Oh the day I put it to warm in the fridge instead.
MS: In the fridge.
MR: In the freezer instead of the oven.
MS: [unclear]
MR: He only had so much time but his boss said, ‘You’re first on the job.’ He had to make sure —

Collection

Citation

Michael Sheehan, “Interview with Millie Roberts,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed January 26, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11556.

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