Interview with Peter Swallow


Interview with Peter Swallow


Peter Swallow was born in Sheffield in 1929, one of three children. He recalls hearing Mr Chamberlain’s declaration of war broadcast as a schoolchild. His father, a plumber, volunteered as a member of the Local Defence Volunteers, eventually becoming a sergeant armourer. Peter remembers his father bringing home a Thompson sub-machine gun, a sticky bomb and grenades. War-time life in Sheffield is described including blackout arrangements, details of car lighting, firefighting water tanks and pipes, and rationing.
Peter started at a grammar school after passing his 11+ exams, but then moved on to an engineering course. It was well equipped, and the lathes were used to manufacture shells by women workers. When not at school or being taught at home, Peter went fishing, playing football or as a Boy Scout, helping put up the blackout covers in the hospital.
His father constructed an air raid shelter in the cellar of their house to protect them from the bombing, and Peter describes the aftermath of raids with details of fires and destroyed buildings in the city centre. He went out with a bucket and collected spent shrapnel and incendiaries after the raids.
After passing his engineering exams he got a job with the General Post Office. After the war he received his National Service call-up and served his two years in Germany with Royal Signals. He relates the camp he was based in, what they got up to in leisure time and his various travels around post-war Germany. On demobilisation he returned to his job with the GPO and married in 1952.



IBCC Digital Archive





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01:27:59 audio recording




ASwallowRP180914, PSwallowRP1801

Temporal Coverage



Mike Connock, “Interview with Peter Swallow,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed August 3, 2021,

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