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Kathleen Reeves


Kathleen Reeves was my Mother, married to Henry Reeves, a schoolteacher at a technical college. Just after the outbreak of hostilities she became District Midwife on a large council estate at Lupset, Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire. Working with her colleague Nurse Lessons,the two looked after the estate through the war years on maternity matters and practically anything else medical that raised its head.

Although only a young boy,one of my over riding memories was of my Mother disappearing out of the house during the hours of darkness in the "blackout" on another call out. Very frequently we also suffered an air raid warning and had to get out to the Anderson shelter with my Dad. He had suffered major stomach surgery and could not get accepted by any of the armed services so took up fire watching. In fact he used to take me with him on his duty nights at the College where he worked.

I remember one night whist Father and his colleagues were playing cards in the typist's office, it would be after midnight, I couldn't sleep and went for a wander round the college. Lying on the floor I found in the main corridor an aluminium cylinder about 14 inches long by 3 or 4 inches wide and tapered at one end. I picked it up, it was quite light and took it back to the office to show my Dad. I reached the typing pool and went up to the table where they were playing cards. I lifted the cylinder onto the table and said "Dad what's this I have found". There was what can only be described as a total 'Hoo-Ha' and all four adults dashed out of the office scattering cards and cigarette packets the old woodwork lecturer actually cleared a desk in one leap. My Father quickly returned, gabbed me by the scruff and dashed out again. It would seem that what I had found was a German Incendiary Bomb recently dropped by the Luftwaffe. However, when it was opened it was found to be empty, probably a slave worker doing his bit.

On many occasions I never saw my Mum for several nights as she attended the wives on the estate, she could quite often vanish on a Sunday say, and re-appear on a Wednesday. There was of course no National Health Service. There would be the mysterious coal delivery from a grateful miner's family in the middle of the night. With the benefit of hind site many more things have become clearer over the years.

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