Newry suffered very little over the Second World War years. I remember going with my aunts to be issued with my Mickey Mouse gasmask. I can still smell the rubber from it. Of course we never had to use it in earnest. We were also issued with identity cards and ration books.
My aunt packed a little suitcase for protection in the event of air raids. Then we were to take to the hills. I remember standing at the front door clutching it and a teddy bear when the sirens sounded. There were also specially-built shelters from air-raid attacks though I cannot remember them being used – at least not for that purpose.
In 1942 my uncle and two aunts decided to go to England and there they became involved in war work. Apart from annual holidays they remained there for over thirty years. They were in their mid-60s when they eventually returned to Newry. My uncle and one aunt married over there.
Each week I would receive a postal order for half a crown from my uncle. When he came home he could always be persuaded to buy me clothes and shoes. I know now that the money sent home from England not only kept me and my aunt Cassie, but sometimes found its way to my mother to help her out.
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