Harry Hunter - Iron moulder and pattern maker


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Birthday

I was born on Oct 26 1928 in Hockley

My mother, Beatrice Hunter nee Phillips was 20 years old (born Mar 8 1908 in Birmingham).

My brother, James Barry Hunter (Jim) was 2 years old (born May 3 1926 in Loveday Street).


1928

Oct 26

The day I was born.

Oct 26

21a King Street, Hockley, Birmingham, United Kingdom (new home)

"This was an old council house with shared outside toilets for 12 houses! However, it was conveniently close to where my father worked in the Jewellery Quarter.

We had a kitchen cum living room, a front parlour and two small bedrooms; when we grew up my sister slept in the parlour. We washed in the scullery [bathed once a week in a zinc bath filled with water heated on the coal fire in the kitchen]. Lighting was a paraffin lamp or candles so we went to bed when it was dark. Summer evenings we played tiddly winks, snakes and ladders. We also had sets1, 2 and 2a of Meccano. Our other toys were apple crates and cardboard boxes which we pretended were cars or aeroplanes. We ran outside whenever we heard an aeroplane coming."


1930

Oct 4

The R101 airship flew by on its way to India but crashed near Paris. I was given a model airship which I eagerly possesed.

Oct 26

I was 2 years old


1932

May 21

Amelia Earhart flew the Atlantic (Events)
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic by airplane.

Oct 26

I was 4 years old


1935

Nov 3

Bluebird racing car reached 300 m.p.h. (Science & Technology)
Sir Malcolm Campbell set a new land speed record of 300mph in his Bluebird racing car


1936

Jan 20

King George V died (Royalty)

Oct 26

I was 8 years old


1937

-

Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Royalty)

Aug 30

Seaside holiday at Great Yarmouth

"It was arranged for our grandmother to take us by train to her home town of Great Yarmouth for a holiday. This was our first ever Holiday. We stayed at a house just two roads back from the Promenade.

One day, James and I came across a placard propped against a boat on the beach advertising a trip to the Goodwin Sands. At dinner time, we tackled Nan and she voiced no objection; she even arranged for a lunch pack to be prepared and saw to it that we carried warm jerseys. Early next morning we let ourselves out, quietly, and hurried through the empty streets down to the harbour. The Goodwin Sands boat was a broad bottomed fishing boat with benches added around the sides. James and I scrambled aboard and settled down for the trip ahead.

The sun got higher and the sea flattened out into a long swell. After an age, we heard the mate call out ‘Land Ahoy’ and we looked ahead but could see nothing. Then, suddenly there was a bump and we lurched and recovered and saw. Wet sand. Sand glistening in the sun, textured with rivulets, and it was growing around us. So level are the sandbanks that the tide appears to rush out at speed.

Barefooted, James and I dropped over the side and stood on the wet sand and wandered off a little way on the cold hard surface. Shells and other finds drew us further and we discovered that the flat sands actually undulated causing the boat to disappear from view occasionally. At this stage, James asked “What if they go without us?” which conjured up images of floating in the middle of the sea, no-one knew where, and… With one accord we made our way back to the boat.
Soon we were told to climb aboard as the water returned. Tucking into our food, huddled below the gunwale for shelter, we did not notice when exactly the return journey began. Lulled by the motion of the boat and tired from the experiences and exercise, we catnapped; it seemed no time before a call made us aware that we were nearly home; to one side was the pier and ahead was the harbour entrance. The streets were alive with holiday makers, none of whom knew that we had been on an adventure."


1938

Sep 18

My sister was born
"Mary brought lightness to our lives during the frightening times of the war. Fortunately she was healthy and undemanding and of course, Mum knew all about babies after raising we two boys, though it cannot have been easy loosing two others before they were a year old. Somehow we knew Mary would be all right and she had plenty of attention from us when we were cooped up in the air raid shelter for hours."

Sep 18

My sister, Mary Elizabeth Groves (Liza) was born at Hockley

Oct 26

I was 10 years old


1939

-

Nylons replaced silk stockings (Fashion)

-

'Gone With the Wind' (Movies & Films)

Sep 3

Britain and France declared war on Germany (Wars & Conflicts)

Sep 3

Waiting to hear special announcement over the radio
"War! What did I know of war? My grandfather had been in both the 1914-18 wars and the Crimea. Now he was a slight, silver haired man who spoke little, coughed a lot and sat at the table making wire and bead butterflies. When he went out it was to the city markets to source more broken necklaces and old wire. He also occasionally bought crabs and wilks too; oh, the joy of picking meat out of the crab legs. That was grandpa. That was what war did. We had no idea of the changes that would come. With our parents, we hung around the RADIO."


1940

-

116 Handsworth Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, Warwickshire., United Kingdom (new home)
"With the war worsening it was finally decided that we should all move in with my Grandparents. Nanny was renting a large council-owned house a bit further out from the city. It was three stories high and joined to identical houses either side, with the usual tunnel between two to get to the back of it.

When I think back I see it was a regal house, set well back from the main road behind a thick round capped wall with one gate for each two houses. The front garden was three large triangles of unkempt grass with deep set paths from gate to front doors and the alley.

A broad portico led to a painted timber door set with a brass knocker; this door was only closed at night. The vestibule and hall beyond the lead light door and side windows, were laid with fancy patterns of small tiles in many colours. The hallway continued past a staircase with a broad balustrade [wonderful for sliding down] and on the right were the doors to two large rooms. A deep step down onto red pavers defined the kitchen quarters with larders; stairs to the cellar; a room which we called the kitchen as it had a coal range for baking and water heating; beyond that was the scullery, a cold dark place with a gas stove and gigantic low sink; and last of all came the ‘conservatory’.

The old copper boiler was built in a brick wall and the toilet door was alongside. Every time I think of that cold toilet I see the six inch squares of newspaper threaded on a string and hung on a nail. For comfort you balled up a piece of paper and worked until it was softer…

Mostly I remember having to sweep the paved area by the house, being exhorted to hold the broom ‘the other way’, and the bitter cold Guy Fauwke’s Nights when my chilblains hurt and we shared sparklers around the small bonfire."

May

340,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk (Wars & Conflicts)

Jul

The Battle of Britain began (Wars & Conflicts)

Sep

The German 'blitz' on British cities began in earnest (Wars & Conflicts)

Oct 26

I was 12 years old


1941

May

The Royal Navy sank the Bismarck (Wars & Conflicts)

Dec 7

Pearl Harbour attack (Wars & Conflicts)
Japanese forces devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii


1942

-

Walt Disney's animated film 'Bambi' opened in New York (Movies & Films)

Jan

R.A.F. bombed Cologne (Wars & Conflicts)
The Royal Air Force launched the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne, Germany

Oct 26

I was 14 years old


1943

Aug

Daylight bombing raids over Germany (Wars & Conflicts)
Steep losses were suffered by USAF in bombing run at Regensburg and Schweinfurt, Germany


1944

Jun

German V-1 bombs hit London (Wars & Conflicts)

Jun 6

D-Day (Wars & Conflicts)
Allied forces landed on the coast in Normandy, France

Jul

Invasion of Normandy (Wars & Conflicts)
Allied forces advanced across Normandy as the Germans retreated

Sep

German V2 rockets hit London (Wars & Conflicts)
Long-range V-2 rockets launched from Holland and Germany hit London

Oct 26

I was 16 years old


1945

-

'Anna and the King of Siam' (Movies & Films)

-

'Animal Farm' by George Orwell (Fiction)

Apr 30

Hitler committed suicide in Berlin (People & Politics)
Adolf Hitler and wife Eva Braun committed suicide in a Chancellery bunker

May 7

VE Day (Wars & Conflicts)
The German forces surrendered unconditionally; Victory in Europe (VE) Day

Aug 6

First atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (Wars & Conflicts)
The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing at least 117,000 people

Aug 9

Second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki (Wars & Conflicts)
Three days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the second atomic bomb called "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000 people.

Aug 15

VJ Day: Victory over Japan (Wars & Conflicts)
The Japanese forces surrendered unconditionally


1946

-

First bikinis appeared (Fashion)
The bikini made its entrance, named for the Atoll by its inventor Louis Reard

Oct

Death of Göring (People & Politics)
Hermann Göring committed suicide; 11 other war criminals were hung

Oct 16

Nuremberg trials (Events)
Nazi war criminals were hanged in Nuremburg

Oct 26

I was 18 years old


1947

Oct 14

First supersonic flight (Space & Aviation)
Capt. Charles E. Yeager flew faster than sound for the first time in the rocket powered Bell X-1