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The Day Before Yesterday: 49 – Hitler’s First Mistake

...I had gone into the Maternity Home on a lovely warm day and came out on a chilly blustery day of early autumn. My tiny bundle was clothed warmly in his white woolly outfit, with only his nose showing from the shawl that bound him up like a mummy...

Gladys Schofield recalls the night German bombers came raiding while she was in the maternity home.

We still had to remain in bed for the first ten days. The last few days we were taught how to bath and care for the infant, though this wasn't new to me.

He was five days old when there was such a commotion in the Maternity Ward. The air raid warnings had been on and off. All the time our babies hung in little basket cradles at the end of each bed, and all at once nurses were everywhere, unhooking the tiny cradles and disappearing down the corridors with their little charges.

We lay there but when at last we managed to ask what was happening, they made the excuse the babies were better to be altogether that night.

We could hear the drone of the heavy bombers as we just had to lie there in the semi-darkness and knew we were being attacked, though the nurses pretended they could hear nothing. Germany must have sent every bomber it had that night to try and invade England.

We saw the paper the next morning. I believe one hundred and sixty five bombers and fighters had been shot down. The raids ceased for a while after our greatest achievement. I think we had proved we were not going to be pushed around.

At times like this it brings out the best in people. One thing about the English, they have plenty of pride. Everyone pitched in to help the disadvantaged, working non¬stop to save as many victims as possible
in the badly hit places. The large shelters kept a lot of people safe in the cities and a lot of them spent every night sleeping on the platforms of the underground stations. The Red Cross and Salvation Army did a never-ending job feeding and caring for the needy. And the King and Queen stayed in London.

I think this was Hitler's first mistake. He now thought it was time he taught Russia a lesson and moved his troops to concentrate on the other front, and we got the time we needed to build up our defence again.

I had gone into the Maternity Home on a lovely warm day and came out on a chilly blustery day of early autumn. My tiny bundle was clothed warmly in his white woolly outfit, with only his nose showing from the shawl that bound him up like a mummy. The nurses had a habit of wrapping them tightly. I preferred a looser wrap, so they could move their limbs more freely.

We had acquired a large cot. This had kept us busy as we painted it white, and I made a quilted bedspread and tiny pillowcases, one side pink, the other blue and small blankets from remnants, each one bound with ribbon. I was pleased we had got the large cot, as Alan did not intend to stay small for long, and this one would fit him until he was two.

The nurse for the district called on me in the first week to see that all was well and said a clinic was open just up the road from where I lived. So along I went with all the other young mothers to have him weighed.

I fed him myself and wondered how he was doing, but I need not have worried. I remember that day he was nine pounds, one ounce and three weeks old.
He was Daddy's boy from the start. I could see the pride in Cliff’s eyes when he heard how we had got on.

Reg loved the baby too and I was pampered a little, getting a cup of tea in bed at early morning feed time.

We also got a small wringing machine that clamped onto the sink. Two tiny rollers squeezed the moisture out of the clothes as you turned a handle, this was a great help with the extra washing.

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