Home | Wife and Mother | Armed Services | Factories | Land Army | Leisure | Useful Links |Tyne Lives

Dougie Milburn's account of the importance of radio broadcasting during the war

Wireless was very important, we called it a wireless in those days not a radio. Nobody ever missed the news and it was a time when things were looking bad for us because France had collapsed and we were on our own, because America hadn’t come into the war at that point. Our man at that time was Winston Churchill. He was the right man, at the right time, and nobody ever missed one of Churchill’s broadcasts. He gave people inspiration; he gave them encouragement, and he was a man who could see into the future. He knew exactly what was going to happen and it usually did. We would be in the park [Saltwell Park] on a Sunday night and at about half-past eight there would be a mass exodus. People would be running home and looking at each other and saying, “Come on! You’ll miss Churchill. He’s on at nine o’clock .” And everybody would be just scurrying out of the park and from then on they’d be glued round their sets.

Well of course it was the big, it was the day of the big dance bands. You heard music like Moonlight Serenade, is it? Glenn Miller. Joe Loss playing In the Mood. When the shows came to the park, they used to bring the shows in during the war. They tried to encourage people not to go away from home. So, the shows used to come park and all the different roundabouts had their own records and that was a very popular record [In the Mood] in those days. Of course it was Joe Loss’s signature tune. A very, very famous light composer called Eric Colts, he was the man who composed the Dam Busters; he composed something called Calling all Workers. It was a three-quarter of an hours program; [radio program] continuous music and it was played throughout the factories. It was called Calling all Workers and we listened for that all morning and we associated that with the war.

With gracious thanks to Dougie Milburn for providing these inciteful memories of World War II