My cousin, before she died, wrote her memories of life in Coventry in the second world war. Her daughter gave me permission to rewrite them into a book. In the "Blitz" you could see Coventry burning from Banbury -- the sky was a red glow.
There are lots of pictures plus the drawings Constance did and it is a true story of life in Coventry for a fifteen year old and her family.
When War was declared I was one month away from my fifteenth birthday. After the announcement on the radio, my father was very concerned that our family had not been issued with gas masks, some of the residents in our road had been issued with them, so my father decided that he had better go to the A.R.P (air-raid precautions) Depot in the centre of Coventry where queries about gas masks were dealt with. I decided that I would walk with him to the depot, it was a lovely sunny day, and it took us about half an hour to arrive at our destination.
Drawings by Constance Collins
The depot was housed in a building called "Ye Old Palace Yard", we walked through an archway into a cobbled court yard, round the outside of which were several small shops and a Technical Collage. There were queues of people, and we found the end of the queue and stood patiently waiting until it was out turn, it seemed we waited for hours. My father asked for our gas masks, but he was told that they would be delivered to our home and fitted by the local A.R.P. Warden within a few days. I remember this bothered my father in case we had a gas attack, as he had been in the forces in World War One and remembered the men who had been gassed.
Whilst we were walking home we heard our first Air Raid warning, everyone seemed to just carry on walking. I remember looking up into the blue sky and seeing the silver Balloon Barrage very high in the sky.