Hull blitz children commemorate WWII 70th anniversary

They were children when the Luftwaffe bombed Hull in 1941 but 70 years on, the former residents of Hull's Sculcoates area are remembering WWII.

Mike Ulyatt was nearly two years old when the city was devastated by heavy bombing, killing about 420 people over two nights on 7 and 8 May 1941.

With a fizzy drink in one hand and jam sandwich in the other, he was carried from his home to an air raid shelter.

His memories and others have been recorded for a new DVD.

"I felt the shelter shudder when the bombs had dropped nearby and [heard] the screams of so many people," remembers Mr Ulyatt.

"But not thinking anymore of it - as kids, what did we think?"

Child's perspective

His memories and those of 20 others who grew up alongside him, known as the "Scully Laners", are being retold in There Is a War on You Know, a DVD authored by Mr Ulyatt.

He said: "We lived in an area that was industrialised… so it was heavily targeted by the Luftwaffe during the war years and a lot of us weren't evacuated, so it's our memories of those terrible times.

Image caption Mike Ulyatt hopes to see a statue in the city to remember those who lost their lives during the Blitz

"The 20 Scully Laners, who we're still in touch with even though we haven't seen each other on a regular basis over 50 or 60 years, now we're all thinking back, 'how did our mothers look after us during those times?'"

Olive Lancaster was inside the former National Picture Theatre on Beverley Road watching Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator with her father prior to the bombing. She said contributing to the DVD brought back vivid memories of the devastation.

She said: "It came up on the [cinema] screen that the sirens had gone. We lived nearby so we went home and then the next morning we had found out it had been bombed. Then we got bombed after that."

'Future generations'

The DVD, which is being sold to help raise money for a local hospice, was launched by the Lord Mayor of Hull during a reunion of the 20 contributors.

Image caption Contributing to the DVD brought back vivid memories of the Blitz for Olive Lancaster (left)

The Lord Mayor of Hull, Councillor David Gemmell, said: "[The DVD] is incredibly important to current and future generations, who didn't live through it and know very little, to learn about it. What we don't want is a similar thing to happen again."

Mr Ulyatt is hopeful the DVD will encourage future generations to understand the severity of life during the war.

"Hull never received the full recognition of all the terrible bombings that did take place and the number of citizens of the city that were killed," he said.

"I was probably, alongside the other contributors, of an age really where we didn't know what was going on.

"Now we've had our own families and we can describe to them what we thought as children waking up to find your house is not there the next day; all your belongings gone.

"It's very difficult to get into the spirit of the time really by communicating it to people who weren't there and have no idea of war."

For more information on the DVD, contact Mr Ulyatt via email:

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