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June 17, 2016
This is a Memory from Audrey Warner of England, who now lives in Oroville

“Our sky was full of large barrage balloons. We were told at school that they would stop the German planes from flying low. We did have one or two planes get through. They used machine guns along the River Mersey and killed several people. It happened at night when the people were coming out of the Ritz Cinema. Because we were not bombed daily we fell back into our regular habits. Of course we still had to be aware and alert to watch for strange items on the ground and not to touch but call a Bobby or Air Raid Wardens.

I was eight and my brother was 6, we sometimes were left alone - my dad was in the army and my mother worked at the American Air Base and sometimes she had to work late. Ron and I used to get scared when we could hear the planes droning above us and the guns firing. Sometimes we would go next door and the old lady used to let us sleep under her table.

The old dirt shelter was demolished and brick shelters were built about in every street or in peoples gardens.

Rationing of food was hard to get used to powdered eggs and milk. We didn’t have much butter or margarine but I learned to mix powdered eggs with them and that was good and a lot more of it. It was hard rationed for one candy (sweets).

My Mom and Dad got divorced and I became the shopper and cook, and also clean the house and put up the black out curtains. My Dad got out of the Army because of illnesses, but he went back to his regular job weaving twine. Life went on. In school we had a lot of evacuees from London and other cities down South of England. They were a lot different than us but we all got used to one another. They missed there moms and dads.

When I was 13 buses came to school and took all of us to the Odeon Cinema downtown. None of us knew what it was for, we were all loud but waited. When the movie started you could have heard a pin drop., It was all about a film of Belsen. It showed starving grown ups and children dying from starvation. Also it showed the prisoners being led to the gas ovens being stripped of all what clothes they had but they had to hang it all on hooks. They walked to the ovens. Piles of body bones were so high they couldn’t get rid of them. Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted everyone to be aware of the Germans. I have never forgot that day. I went to work when I was 14 it was 1945. I awoke to people shouting in the street saying ‘The war is over’. I was happy I had the day off.”

Oroville Mercury Register
March 13, 1953
News From Oroville’s Men In The Service
In Flood Fight

Sergeant First Class Harold D. Harkness, son of Mr. and Mr. F. G. Harkness, of D Street, Oroville, checks a telephone terminal while on temporary duty in the Netherlands with his unit, the 17th Signal Operations Battalion. The battalion, permanently stationed in Germany, was one of the many aiding Holland under the American Military Flood Relief Expedition program. Harknesss entered the Army in August, 1948, and arrived in Europe on his present tour of duty in May, 1950.

Pvt. Sherman Lee Cassio, son of Mrs. Katie Lou Cassio, of Oroville is undergoing paratroop training at Fort Benning, Ga. Cassio entered the service on Jan. 13 of last year, and was transferred to his present post December, 10, 1952.

Pvt. Wayne Allen, son of Mrs. Essie Allen, of Route 3, Oroville, ha been assigned to the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Wash., for basic training. Pvt. Allen is assigned to Battery C, 233rd Field Artillery Battalion.

Stu’s Notes:
I asked Audrey if she would write something about what we talked about and she did. We met at the First United Methodist Church while sitting at the same table and enjoying Dinner @ Six on Wednesday, September thru May. The meal is $7 or a donation. They are always great and you meet very nice people.