Chapter 1

First things first, I was born in Manchester, 16th November 1937. My dad Dougie Dactyl and mother, Mildred (Malloy) lived at 18 Moodle Lane, Manchester. He worked in an engineering factory.

Early recollections standing on a Booth Hall Children’s hospital bed, aged two or three, listening to a song on the ward radio, 'You are My Sunshine'. I was in for a tonsil operation, so I was told, many years later.

Also around that time, of walking up the path to our new home, a semi, 13 Newfield Crescent, Crossacres, Manchester. (Later to become one of the countries largest overspill housing estates)

My brother Edwin was born in Blackpool, June 1940. My mother and I had been evacuated from Manchester because of the threat of German bombers. We then returned to Newfield Crescent some months later.

Our house suffered from some damage when a bomb landed two roads away and debris crashed through the roof. This must have been the December 1940 raid on Manchester, which was hit quite badly, according to the news reports.

The air raid situation led to the installation of an Anderson bomb shelter in our back garden. This was a hole in the ground into which curved corrugated steel sheets were fixed. The top half was then covered with soil. You had to climb down into the dark interior, through a very small entrance. Inside there were four wooden bunk beds with interlocking cloth strips as the bed base.

Crossacres was only three or four miles from Ringway airport, which at that time, was a war target.

Air raid warning sirens were a regular occurrence. Then if it a was a night time attack, having been woken up in a bedroom with blacked out windows, the family would hurry down to the air raid shelter. You used to listen in the dark to the noise of aero engines. There was a difference in the sound between the English / German ones.

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