'Because of the blitz in 1941 our house at 82 Medway Street was wrecked by the German Luftwaffe '

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'Because of the blitz in 1941 our house at 82 Medway Street was wrecked by the German Luftwaffe '


Hugh Duncan remembers the Blitz of 1941, when his family were evacuated near the Mourne Mountains and Carlingford Lough. He remembers enjoying his time in the country side learning how to fish and admiring the landscape. He remembers the American soldiers fondly as they gave the children sweets and gum which were rationed. They also got to see films, boxing matches and celebrities which were used to entertain the soldiers.


Hugh Duncan


Trinity College Dublin




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Hugh Duncan

Is Part Of

Adolescence and Early Adulthood


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Rostreavor, Co. Down

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


Because of the blitz in 1941 our house at 82 Medway Street was wrecked by the German Luftwaffe. As our house was nearby the shipyard the blast from a German bomb damaged our house so badly we had to be evacuated to Killowen the next day. My Aunt Josie with her two children, Billy and Mary Hope came with us as their house in Newcastle Street was damaged also. None of our families will ever forget our stay as we surveyed the beauty of the Mourne mountains and Carlingford Lough, and seeking cows and sheep for the first time. We fished for crabs on a large rock and up them in pools on the rock and as the tide came in covering the rock the crabs we had caught were freed. We sailed wee boats made from driftwood for hours at a time. My brothers learned to swim, but I never could. It was a real delight to skim stones over the water and watch_�__�__�_..(words covered up by note) It was a sad day when because of family matters between my mother and Aunt Josie we had to move to May Cottage at Rostrevor Quay situated just beside the Great Northern Hotel. The cottage had been lived in by an elderly lady called Rose McGlade. There was religious pictures on all the walls. The view from May Cottage was stunning as we gazed over the lough to the Cooley Mountains in County Louth. But we never settled down. We weren't too long finding out that the beds were infested with fleas. Harry Mitchel the head forester and a lieutenant in the home guard got in touch with the commanding officer of the South Staffordshire Regiment billeted at the stables at Rostrevor Quay. The C.O. detailed some of his soldiers to disinfect and clean the mattresses and the entire house. We also were plagued by rats. We bought a spring trap and caught 19 rats in about a week. A barnyard at the back of the house where crushed oats, potatoes and marigold were stored were the cause of the infestation. We were very happy at May Cottage watching the soldiers singing and whistling and ringing as they marked along wearing steel helmets, gas masks, slung over their shoulders and wearing heavy leather boots. The marches were gruelling sometimes marching up to ten miles. Sometimes celebrities entertained the soldiers in an old garage at the quay and we were allowed to watch war films and boxing matches. This building also used as a cook house and a canteen. When the South Staffords left Rostrevor the Americans moved into their barracks. They were more come easy as they walked about in their leisure time; smoking cigars and chewing gum. In the field nearby our house they played baseball and at times allowed us to play with them. They were really friendly and gave us sweets and chewing gum. Sweets were rationed the same as everything else. Shortly after the American army left there was a feeling around of sadness. While they were in Rostrevor they gave a boost to the local shops. One favourite place to go was a little caf� at the back of the quays called the Anchor Caf�. It was badly affected by their departure. We received notice to move from May Cottage as the Farmer, Mr. Jennings, needed it because his byre man, Tommy Lunch was getting married and would need the house. However, when Mr. Jennings informed my mother that we could move to a cottage on the Fairy Glen, we were all pleased because it was nearer to our school and to the shops in the village. It was set in a beautiful environment with the Mourne Mountains rising up from the back of the house and the Kilbany River flowing past the front door, just a few feet away.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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