Edward Aylward

'I used to admire my mum'

Edward Aylward talks about his admiration for the women on the Home Front.

Defending the Home Front

Edward Aylward talks about fire watching and being in the ARP.

Wartime memories of fire watching, the ARP and life in the Navy.

A tin helmet and a whistle

At fourteen years of age at the outbreak of war Edward Aylward quickly became involved in war work. He took up duties such as Fire Watching and later became an ARP warden. As part of the ARP Edward was often required to patrol during raids and to visit air raid shelters to ensure the safety of those sheltering. Life as a warden presented many dangers, such as falling shrapnel, but little personal protection was available. Edward recalls, ‘ Literally, I mean, when I was in the ARP all I had was a tin helmet and a whistle. And that was my safe guard.’ But at the time little did this worry him, ‘I think because I was in an age of fifteen and a half/sixteen, I thought ‘can’t hurt me’, like, you know.’

The perils of war

My Navy life was quite comfortable. As I say I was more in danger when I came on leave’.

Towards the end of the war Edward was called up and joined the Navy. His time in the Navy brought him to Australia where he met his future wife, a Wren. But it is not his time in the Navy which has made the deepest imprint. In terms of the dangers of the war it is the perils on the home front which have remained with Edward, ‘The most exciting bits of it was when I come home on leave. Dodging the bombs and rockets and doodlebugs...My Navy life was quite comfortable. As I say I was more in danger when I came on leave’.

'Suddenly you’re discharged’

Edward has bittersweet memories of leaving the Navy, ‘Well, I think – from day one you’re saying ‘wish I could do something else’ ‘get out of here like’ and you know. And I think you carry on thinking in them terms until suddenly you’re discharged’.  But once demobbed life shortly returned to routine, ‘I started back at work...and my wife went out to – she worked for Westminster Council as a cook. So all in all we went back to the life we knew, basically’.


Interview with Edward Aylward
Interview with Edward Aylward (114k)
To read the full transcript of Edward's interview please press the above link.

'I used to admire my mum'
'I used to admire my mum' (54k)
Transcript of audio clip with Edward Aylward.

Defending the Home Front
Defending the Home Front (58k)
Transcript of audio clip with Edward Aylward.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 02/02/2012.