Wartime memories of Wilf Mound
Wilf Mound recorded a number of wartime reminiscences for the BBC oral history project. This one mainly concerns the German flight path that went over Malvern to reach Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester and Liverpool.
“When the Blitz was on in the East End the Kiora squash factory, (which was a subsidiary of Schweppes) was bombed and they gave them some space at Colwall. Now you might wonder why squash was so important? Well every bit went to the North African Forces and the 8th Army in the desert. You couldn’t buy squash in the shops. At Colwall they had sheds full of sugar and when it got damp it used to run out under the doors like syrup!
German bombing raids
“When France fell, the Germans had the whole of Northern France, so it was easier for them to get to the Midlands. Malvern seemed to be a turning point and you used to get used to seeing and hearing planes at night. If they turned North-East they were going to Birmingham or Coventry. You could see the air go bright with incendiaries, and they were followed by more who dropped their bombs, right in the middle of the night. If they went North they were going to Manchester or Liverpool, they were back within 1/2 hour.
“One night my dad said that it had been a long time since they went over at least an hour, so they had gone to Scotland.
The London Blitz
“One night when the Blitz was heavy in London, and it was getting dark, no planes came over. It was quiet and uncanny so my dad and I went outside. It was a clear night, usually a good night for the bombers. From our house we could see Bredon Hill and a salmon tinge over the hill. Was it the moon we wondered? No it was the glow from heaviest night of bombing in London. There was an amazing constant glow.
“All German planes came through the Severn Estuary; it was called the rat run. They came up the Cornish Peninsula, up the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. Funnily enough I never saw even one plane! I did see one that was shot down in Malvern but never in the sky! Just the drone on and on of them.
“Each town had a “Spitfire Fund”. If the town could raise £5000 this would buy a Spitfire. The town could have their name printed on them. This area had one called “The Malverns”. Worcester had one called “City of Worcester” I think.
“As you go up Church Street in Malvern there were lovely railings. When the shortage of metal made everything so precious, I watched as a man came and removed all the railings, he then went to the graveyard removing the railings there as well.”
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Jacci Phillips of the CSV Action Desk at BBC Hereford and Worcester on behalf of Wilf Mound and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.