Childhood memories of the First World War

George Davies came from a low-income Wellington family of five children. In this Spectrum radio documentary from 1981 he remembers his childhood during the First World War.


I can remember war being declared very well and you know all these young fellas, there must have been a procession a mile long and they were four abreast – and they were all marching down to Parliament Buildings to offer their services. And you know, I was astounded, in the very front row was my old teacher from the primary school – he really had the war fever.

You know I had four uncles, they all volunteered to go away. And that was one Christmas that I’ll always remember, because my four uncles came round, they’re all in uniform and they’re going to have Christmas dinner with us, and what was more important, they were going to provide it, and that was really something. Well you know we had a fantastic time. And old Uncle Bert he of course he was the life and soul of the party. Uncle Bert had a black bottle and he’d tell a few stories and he’d take a sip out of the black bottle. And the more sips he took out of that bottle, the worse the stories got. Anyhow, poor old Uncle Bert you know, that was the last time I ever saw him.

Now about this time, or a little while after when the news of Uncle Bert had come through, there was a carrier arrived and he had a kennel and an old dog, and it was Uncle Bert’s old dog and he apparently asked if I could look after it. Well look I’d have looked after that dog, I swore that every butcher in the district would have to find meat for that dog somehow or other. It had always been my ambition to have a dog and although by standards now as I can remember him he was a pretty old haggard old boy, he was my dog and that meant a terrible lot to me.


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