Bombs - not sandwiches

From Harry Foy's Book  'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'

The most poignant memory of the war for us was the bombing of Belfast. The sky over Edenderry was aglow. That night, Stephen Houston, the caretaker of the Post Office, rang and summoned the Dundalk and Drogheda fire brigades to aid the people of Belfast. Next morning lorries arrived in the town carrying evacuees and their belongings. I recall Bob Fay instructing the men in John Montgomery's yard in the making of crude coffins for delivery to Belfast.

One night shortly after this, the air raid siren in Portadown sounded and the cry went up "To the fields!" The people in the Marley Street area headed for the Burrow Loanin where they joined the people from Park Road. With almost everyone dressed in white nightclothes and shirts, it resembled a huge cricket match. Two old age pensioners headed for the fields also, but half way down the street the woman stopped and started to run back home. Her husband shouted after her "Where are you going?" She replied "I forgot my teeth" Its bombs they're dropping, not sandwiches!" he shouted back. People from the Tunnel headed for Selshion Moss bringing their pets with them. There were so many dogs there that night, there wasn't a hare spotted for weeks.

In Woodhouse Street, Joe Henderson, a local grocer, drove his lorry to the front of the shop and went inside to fetch his family. But when he came back half the residents of John Street and David Street were piled into it so he had to bring them to Selshion Moss before returning for his own.

During the war children received free orange juice and school milk. Everything was rationed - food, meat, clothing, petrol, sweets and even furniture. In the bakeries, flour was not refined and we had to eat dark brown bread. We went to school with a gas mask slung over the shoulder and ate margarine sandwiches for lunch as butter was rationed.

Every house had to have blackout curtains and there were special shades placed over car headlights to conceal them from the air. Air raid wardens visited every street to ensure that regulations were adhered to. A joke of the time was as follows: "A warden saw a chink of light from an upstairs bedroom window. He knocked on the door and asked the your lady who answered, "Do you realize you have a chink upstairs?" "Goodness", she replied, "He told me he was a French sailor!"
Market Day in Portadown.

Street gangs and fogging orchards.

The wee shops.

Colourful vendors.

The Canon's trip.

The Butterfly.

Greenaway's ghost.

Summer on the Bann.

The Great Lemonade Robbery.

My first day at school.

The packman.

Even the dog understood the language.


Our House.

A long throw since skittles game was born.

The Gas Man Cometh.

In tune with the band.

Clubs and tickmen.

Donald Campbell Had nothing on us.

The Obinsville Cowboys.

Singing in the streets.

Such good sports.

The days of the sand quays.

The magic of Christmas.


Skipping, football and cigarette cards.

Escape to the movies.

My first taste of plays.

Smuggling knew no borders.

The tale of the pigs.

Three brass balls.

Thanks for the memories.

First class show!.

Who could forget Mary Ann!.

Health remedies.

Fondly Remembered.

Going To The Dogs.


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