WWII Firewatch : Delia Whitehead

War Time Fire Watch

When I was young, I lived with my Great Uncle George, Granny Hunt and Aunt Alice. Uncle George had a small-holding at the Toll Gate just outside of Yarmouth, but because it was war time he also did fire watch. We lived in a bungalow called ‘Downs View’. You could not see much from the garden so he had to walk down Thorley Road when it was dark.

Delia Whitehead's childhood home.

Downs View, Thorley Road 1940s where Delia Whitehead grew up with Granny Hunt, Aunt Alice and Great Uncle George who had a small holding there.
Photo: Delia Whitehead

There was a gent called Mr Rowley who was in charge of the men who did fire watch. He lived along the Bouldnor Road. If a fire was spotted the men would have to go to his house and tell him, or even look round to find him. Very few people were on the phone.

Sometimes Mr Rowley would visit the men’s homes to see if they had been out looking round. Trouble is in winter when it was bitter cold, Uncle George would pop home for a hot drink. He always sat in the kitchen on an old couch. It was warm and he kept falling asleep so the rest of us had to take it in turns to poke him just as he was about to drop off to sleep and hope Mr Rowley would not turn up in the middle of it.

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