Lee Prescott from Stonehouse shares his experience of growing up during the Second World War.

The recent 75th anniversary of D-Day prompted me to reflect and write about my wartime experiences in the event of not forgetting all those on what we called the Home Front.

My family were forced to leave our Lancashire mining village in early 1939 due to enforced job losses to seek pastures new.

My dad got a job with the then Lever Brothers on the Wirral in their private hospital as he was a highly trained St John’s first aider.

We moved into a house near the firm’s Bromborough Dock fed from the River Mersey. Then WW2 started with the complete black out at night.

1940 One night by habit from the back door, I looked out to see if the red ship warning lights were illuminated on the distant river retaining wall.

These lonely lights were switched off if an air raid was imminent.

I started to shout ‘they’re on’ when there was an almighty explosion - no air raid sirens had sounded.

I was blasted backwards through the closed downstairs bathroom door into the bath which was kept full of cold water in case of fire from bombs followed by the entire back of the house, lengths of sharp timber, masonry and shards of glass followed me!

Dad was on night duty. Mum was in the lounge, she came running calling ‘oh God where are you’.

I was nine and extremely lucky! I clambered out of the bath – I had never sworn in my life – but I did then.

We had to move out into a company tied house in Port Sunlight village.

I was made to join the Boys’ Brigade and church choir.

There were 148 boys in the BB I was the youngest at now just ten years of age.

Every summer we went on harvesting camps all over the country for two weeks under canvas.

Each day we went out to different locations where we worked in the fields.

As I was the youngest I was given the job of keeping the trench fire going and the food cooking.

At home life went on under the air raids.

Liverpool and its docks were just across the River Mersey and Birkenhead and those docks were just over four miles west of us.

Bombs and landmines fell nightly. Many houses etc were smashed to smithereens.

Phone lines came down. Some of us boys became runners each night for the ARP and Dads Army carrying messages.

Some of us smaller lads including me helped the rescue squads as we could wriggle under the rubble of smashed houses helping to locate trapped people.

My mate from time to time was a black Labrador named Chum – he was a wonderful and intelligent animal.

Parents attitude?Simple – everyone helped everyone else no matter what. We were ALL fighting the Nazis.

1941 One Saturday I had to go as usual, with mum to the shops for our rations to carry the shopping bag.

Not difficult as there was never much in it!

On one trip we had to dive for cover into a cellar as a Nazi Luftwaffe Junkers 88 aeroplane dived down machine gunning everyone in the road.

An RAF Hurricane fighter followed and shot it down.

It crashed landed in a field and we rushed out.

The three man crew were terrified as women, kids and old men came running with spades and garden forks shouting.

Fortunately the police arrived and they were taken away otherwise they’d have been eviscerated!

We kids started to pinch bits off the plane until a policeman stopped us.

A while afterwards my mates and I were waiting for the cinema to open. Again no air raid warning – a Nazi German ME109 suddenly zoomed up over the nearby high railway embankment and trees.

I knew what was coming and screamed ‘get down, lie down’.

The pilot machine gunned us.

Cannon shells smashed into the wall above us and we were hit and cut by flying masonry.

Screams, blood, death and destruction littered the pavement. We were sent home, no counselling in those days.

We were tough kids we had to be. I can still hear and see it all!

1943 - American soldiers arrived – tired, dirty, from their rough Atlantic crossing. Each home had to accommodate two. They were all great guys.

We had a corporal age 19 from Louisiana and a sergeant aged 23 from Texas.

They worked and ate across at their HQ.

When they saw our rations on the table they were appalled.

They said ‘you’re starving’ - the remark made mum angry, she said: “We are not”! From time to time they brought us food.

They took us kids under their wing.

They set up dances and taught us to jive.

1944. One evening they came in and started to pack their gear.They said ‘we’re leaving for France’

I was by then almost 14 years of age.

We hugged them and burst into tears.

Just two weeks after they left the Luftwaffe managed to get through and dropped a landmine which demolished some houses and shattered ours. We moved again and life went on.

Just over four-and-a half years later I volunteered for the RAF for a period of my service I found myself ‘detached’ and with the Americans again.