High Explosive Bomb at Eade Road
High Explosive Bomb :
Source: Aggregate Night Time Bomb Census 7th October 1940 to 6 June 1941
Fell between Oct. 7, 1940 and June 6, 1941
Eade Road, Harringay, London Borough of Haringey, N17, London
56 20 SE - comment:
Read people's stories relating to this area:
Contributed originally by BBC LONDON CSV ACTION DESK (BBC WW2 People's War)
"I'm a cockney born in Kingsbury Road near the Ball's Pond Road in the East End in 1937, so I was like 4, 5 and 6 when all this happened. I went to a Catholic School and during the Blitz when the air-raid sirens went, we'd get under the table and our teacher would say 'now you've got to pray' so we all prayed until the all-clear went.
One morning at 3, my mum's sister cam in and said 'there's a big bomb dropped near the old lady's house - that's what we called my gran - but she said she's all right. We rushed down the road and saw that a bomb had dropped on a school. I'll never forget, there wasn't a window left in none of the houses around. We went into a schoolhouse, the door was wide open, and there was blind man upstairs which they got our early; the whole ceiling had come down on him. We went into the kitchen and there was only about three bits of plaster left. The plaster round the rose on the ceiling was about the only bit left. I asked the blind man if he was okay and he said 'yeah' so I made him a cup of tea. We was lucky because if that bomb had dropped at three o'clock in the afternoon it would have killed all the kids.
I'll never forget this, the front door swung open and a fireman stood there. He said 'Everyone all right?' and one of the women said, well, I can't say what she said, but to the effect of 'that xxxxx Hitler can't kill me!'
We lived off the Ridley Road at the time and during one of the air raids one night, everyone went down the shelters and my dad said to me "Want to watch the airplanes?' My mum said 'That's not a good idea', anyway, he put me on his shoulders and we stood in the doorway and watched the dog-fights overhead. And I tell you, when them German planes got caught in the headlights, they had a hell of a job to get out. Anyway, the morning after these raids, all us kids'd go out collecting shrapnel from the shells, I had a great big box of the stuff.
Was I scared? Only when I was in bed at night and the air-raid warning went. When you're asleep and you suddenly woke, you didn’t' know what was happening so it was pretty frightening. At that age, you didn't know what air raids were all about. Some of the time I slept in the cupboard under the stairs and it felt a bit safer there.
One day, I went round to the corner to my aunt's house and she was sitting by the window when there was an air-raid warning. Inside the window where she was sitting was a table with a statue on it. They told her to come in away from the window. I'll never forget this, there was a bomb blast, the window come in and the statue toppled off the table and onto the floor. If she hadn't have moved, she'd have been covered with flying glass.
My dad didn't go in the army, because he was wanted on the railways. He took me down the dog racing one day at Hackney Wick. This flying bomb - a doodle-bug it was - suddenly appeared over us. You could see every detail of it. We all ran. It went right across the track and dropped in a field somewhere.
One day a landmine dropped near us in Kingsbury Road and didn't go off. A fellow came down from the Bomb Disposal unit, to try to disconnect it and he got killed. Opposite us there was a block of flats and they named it after him - Ketteridge Court.
I was evacuated for a little time, to Kettering, but I don't remember much about it, only that I didn't like it. I'd have to ask my mum about it. She's 100 but still remembers everything.
Me and my family are Pearly Kings and Queens and we do a lot of charity work, entertaining with music and the old cockney songs and that (Phone 020 8556 5971). We are now the biggest 'Pearly' family, made up mostly of the Hitchins (my mum's family name) in Hoxton, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Clapton, Shoredich, Hommerton, Dalston, City of London, Westminster, Victoria, Islington and Stoke Newington. "
Contributed originally by RoyalFusilier (BBC WW2 People's War)
People were friendly in those days and if the siren warned us of an air raid when we were out of doors, they would open their door and call us in. I have taken shelter in stranger’s homes on many occasions and given shelter in return. Our flat was open house for anyone passing or for residents of the top flats who didn’t feel safe during a raid. We had as many as twelve people sleeping as best they could on the floor of our little flat. The comradeship in those days was wonderful! One of the most horrifying sounds was that of the whistling or screaming bombs. These were meant to put fear into us and lower our morale. They really terrified me and lots of other people as well. As they came down, they made such an awful piercing, screaming whistle that I could not stand up. I had to sit on a chair before my legs gave way as they completely turned to jelly. My heart seemed to stop beating and I couldn’t get my breath until the explosion came. It certainly was one of Hitler’s most effective terror weapons. It broke my moral every time and left me with a terrible fear so that, even now, I am nervous when a low aeroplane flies overhead. Often I cried when one came down, only to hear more falling from the sky. This was the time that I looked forward to hearing Winston Churchill give one of his morale boosting speeches, as we all felt better after one of those. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think that we would have won the war. He was staunch, strong, stirring and comforting. Good old Winnie!
The V1, buzz bomb or doodlebug was another horror. When the first one came over the newspapers said that our artillery had shot down a new type of aeroplane, but when they went to examine the wreckage, there was no pilot and no parachute to be seen. On closer examination, they found that there was an engine at the back and flames came out of it. More came over and we realised that when the engine cut out, the unmanned ‘plane would dip and fall to the ground. They fell anywhere and everywhere and Hitler could not claim that he was trying to avoid killing innocent civilians. When you were at home and heard these things coming, your heart would be in your mouth, especially when the engine cut out. It would fall and explode killing and maiming some poor devils and we breathed a sigh of relief until the next one came our way. Peter was a baby when these things were on the go and many is the time I’ve thrown myself across his pram, as I couldn’t get him out quick enough. If you were outside, you could see them coming and if they were pretty near, the best thing was to run towards them so they passed over you. Dad was often delivering letters when they came over and he would go towards them and then crouch behind a garden wall to escape the blast when they fell and exploded. Next came the V2 rockets that you couldn’t hear at all. There was no warning, just the explosion so there was nothing that you could do to protect yourself. You couldn’t stay in the shelters all the time just in case a V2 came over, so we just carried on with things and hoped for the best.
During the war years, it was not all horror and fear. We had some happy times and laughed at all sorts of things. I remember one old girl called Mrs Thompson used to come out and put up her umbrella during an air raid as she was afraid of the shrapnel. She thought that the umbrella would save her — poor old girl! We used to go out and watch the dogfights and shout “Hooray” when a German plane came down and boo and hiss when a German was the victor. At the beginning of the war, I went out with a boy called Ron Calnon. Sometimes during the bombing, you’d lose your water supply. One evening, Ron and I were carrying a galvanised tin bath full of water back home from his parent’s house near Manor House, which was a long way. Then the air raid siren howled its warning! We emptied the water, put the bath over our heads and ran like anything through the dark streets! The shrapnel whizzed all around and one piece struck the bath with a great clang that sounded right through our heads. Then we had to go back and get another bath full.
Doris Robson wrote this as part of her memoirs in "Gaslight on the Cobbles" She married Leonard Herring in 1943 and died on New Years Day, 2001
Contributed originally by Herts Libraries (BBC WW2 People's War)
Keith Ranger — Wartime Memories Part One
Q: Can you tell me about your childhood during the war?
A: When war broke out I was 3 years old — I can’t remember much about the declaration.
Q: What were your first memories — can you remember gas masks?
A: I remember gas masks — I don’t think I had a Mickey Mouse one — my wife had a Mickey Mouse one, unfortunately she hasn’t kept it — but I know I had a gas mask and would have to go to school with gas mask over my shoulder and as we walked to school we used to pick up pieces of shrapnel, they were pieces of bombs or bullets. they used to be lying all over the road and we used to prize these if you found a nice bright silvery one they were quite treasured at school.
Q: Where were you living?
A: I lived in London. I lived near Finsbury Park, I lived on the other side of Finsbury Park to the Arsenal ground — that’s on one side and I lived on the other side of the park. I didn’t support Arsenal actually I support Tottenham Hotspur because my father was a season ticket holder at Tottenham, he actually went to White Hart Lane school so my father supported Tottenham so I supported Tottenham - whereas most of my friends supported Arsenal naturally being so close to the Arsenal ground.
It might be interesting for young people to know that the Arsenal actually shared a ground with Tottenham during the war — the Arsenal ground was commissioned by the Army — so Arsenal didn’t have a ground in those days, they used to share the ground with Tottenham and used to go along to Tottenham every Saturday because there was always a game — one week it would be Tottenham and next week it would be Arsenal at the Tottenham ground. When you went to see the games you didn’t know quite who would be playing — sometimes it was someone called ‘A.N.Other’ because they weren’t quite sure who was going to be playing, and often you would get people like Corporal so and so and one of my favourites was Sgt. Ditchburn — Ted Ditchburn who used to play in goal at Tottenham, he was a Sgt. On the programme it cost a penny I think it used to be Sgt. Ditchburn playing goal for Tottenham.
Q: Did your dad work?
A: My father worked in Smithfield Market and therefore was a reserved occupation but he had to go into London, most nights he’d come home from work got a little sleep then go back into London into the City into Smithfield and do some fire watching which was looking out for enemy aircraft, he also had to fight the blaze and repair the damage which was incurred on London during the blitz, he was in fact quite lucky towards the end of the war there were things called V2 rockets, these came after the V1 rockets, I’ll explain more about those in a moment.
The V2 you didn’t know when they were going to come they were very quick and they were the forerunner really of space travel, a lot of these people that worked on the V2 rockets were taken by the British and Americans after the war and worked on space programmes, but these rockets came across and just plunged into a town without any thought as to who they were going to hit, they weren’t targeted in any particular place.
One fell on the market itself and smashed it to smithereens, many people were killed and badly injured in that raid but my father was very fortunate in that respect because although he was in the market at the time the blast went around him because he was behind a very big pillar which held up the market and from the market there used to be a little underground railway where they used to transport the mail and the blast when it hit also travelled underneath the ground which is why it caused so many casualties and so much damage, so my father was very lucky that night. I did have picture of the market after it got hit and my eldest son actually gave it away — he gave it to someone who was doing a history of Smithfield Market and my son thought it would be very interesting to him and I haven’t seen it since, I’m not sure where that photograph is now. But it’s a rather famous photograph of the whole market in fire and collapsed buildings. It might be interesting because my wife’s father he also was in that sort of thing at one time, he did fire watching also in London until he went into the Army and went over to India but they lived in the East End, my wife’s family all come from the East End, they got very badly bombed and their house was a few that was still standing and when my father-in-law had to go to work or to go fire watching or whatever he often had to tread across all the people that were asleep in the hallway of the house to get to the front door.
I lived in London, near Finsbury Park and also near Haringey Arena. You have probably heard of Haringey which is not receiving good press at the moment, but when I lived there there used to be an Arena and a Stadium unfortunately neither are there anymore but they used to have the big boxing competitions in the Arena, even the world championships were fought in the Arena and the Stadium was next to it and they used to have speedway and greyhound racing and so on. But during the War the Arena was taken over by American troops so there were lots of Yanks around and we used to scrounge chewing gum from them, “Have you got any gum chum?” and invariably they used to give us the chewing gum and they used to give us rides in the tanks around the area.
Also the other side of Finsbury Park near Highbury Stadium was the main line out of Kings Cross so these were two areas very strategically placed for the Germans to attack so we used to have quite a lot of bombing and attacks on us and when it got quite bad, Mum decided we should be evacuated but we were evacuated to Chalfont St Giles, unfortunately Mum didn’t like it very much as it was very lonely and we were on a farm and coming from an area of London she was very lonely and there was just her and I and the people that owned the farm and after three weeks only we decided to go back to London and take our chances really. We lasted longer than my wife. She was evacuated to Peterborough and lasted ten days and they couldn’t stand it either, so they went back to London.
So when we went back to London we went back to our own house and because the raids were so bad we got, I don’t know if we had to buy them in those days or we were given them by the Government, but we had a shelter called a Morrison shelter and this was like a cage, a reinforced cage which stayed in the bedroom really and I used to sleep most of the time in this cage thing but if it got really bad, if the bombing got bad, my Mum and Dad used to get in it as well, which left my Nan, who lived with us, upstairs. If it got really bad, we had to take other action, and the action we took was to go to next door, because next door had a shelter called an Anderson shelter and this shelter was actually built in the garden. It was a very small garden that we had and it was back to back houses so the gardens were very small but they had the Anderson built in the garden and they were very kind to us and we used to have to get into this Anderson shelter so there were quite a few of us in there. So to get there we had to climb over the garden wall because we had a brick wall that separated the garden houses as you did in those days, there was a 4ft brick wall. We had to climb over this wall and not only was there a wall but because we didn’t have much food in those days even though my Dad worked in Smithfield we were rationed, so what my father did was to build some chicken runs all round the garden, and as I say, it wasn’t a very big garden, so we built these chicken runs around the garden and we also had some rabbit hutches, we used to keep rabbits on the top, so we had to climb over the wall and the chicken run and rabbit hutches to get to next doors garden to get into their shelter and my Grandmother as well so there was not only next doors family, the mother and father and their son, who was in fact my bestman when I got married. There were those three and there was all of us that got into this Anderson shelter until the all clear went and then we clambered back over the wall again into our own house.
Q: So, how often did this occur, that you had to go next door?
A: Probably two or three times a week we had to climb over the wall. It depended on the seriousness of the raid really, as you know the siren went and you would know that the bombers would start dropping, so you got prepared for that so you instinctively new if it was going to be a bad one or it was going to be just a few sort of recognisance aircraft may be dropping a few flares or something, as I say we used to go in there and pull the door shut and take our chances really. But not only did we have chickens and rabbits and we also thought we should have a duck and that would be nice for a Sunday lunch or something so we bought this duck, I can’t remember where we got it from now, I think Porterbella market we got it from. So we got this bath and sunk it in the ground at the end of the garden and put Donald the Duck in the thing, so he lasted as we just couldn’t kill him as we just didn’t have the heart to kill him, we used to kill the rabbits and the chickens and eat them but we just didn’t have the heart to kill Donald and he died of old age quite a long while after the war had finished.
Q: Presumably the chickens gave you eggs as well?
A: Oh, the chickens gave us eggs as well and things that I can remember was Mum making up the food for them and all the stuff used to go in the big pot and she used to buy some stuff to mix with it and this feed the chickens and the rabbits and also Donald of course, he was quite plump when he passed away.
Contributed originally by Herts Libraries (BBC WW2 People's War)
Keith Ranger — Wartime Memories Part Two
Q: Can you remember how you felt when you were in the shelters, because you were quite young weren’t you?
A: Yeah, this is something I have firmly believe in that when you are young, if you see this sort of thing going on around you, you don’t really realise there is anything else in life. When I see people in Iraq or not so much Iraq but certainly in Ireland when the troubles were bad there. The young people, people thought wasn’t it terrible if they were throwing stones or something but if you were bought up in that environment you really don’t know anything else. You don’t know that there is a better life because that is the life you live with so you don’t know anything else. I was quite happy with my childhood I thought it was great.
Q: Can you remember any other changes in the house? So for instance, what happened if you showed a light?
A: We did get partially bombed. A bomb fell quite close to us, in fact it demolished some houses not faraway from us and the blast actually blew out our windows and took some slates of the roof. So I remember for sometime we had it just boarded up. It was quite interesting because next door to us that was even nearer to the bad blast was, they had their roof taken off. The roof was very badly damaged in that house as well and in 1984 I think it was, they finally got around to putting a new roof on, no sorry the new roof was put on prior to that. I think the new roof was put on in about 1980 or something. But unfortunately the roof that they repaired, they put on concrete tiles so they put these concrete tiles that you see on modern houses these days, but our house was quite an old one and we had the old fashioned slates on which weren’t quite as heavy as the concrete tiles and my mother and father were still living there in 1984 and I used to go back and see them because I lived in Berkhamsted then and the front of next doors house started to bow and I said to my mother and father that doesn’t look very safe and I was around there one day and there was an almighty crash and the concrete tiles proved to be too heavy for the roof and the whole roof just collapsed through, so it was just like being in the war again. Fortunately the woman that lived there was in the back of the house so she wasn’t hurt. I lost my grandfather in the first World War, but my Nan for many years lived on her own and I was the only one until after the war when my brother came along, I used to go and sleep with my Nan a lot of the time when the raids weren’t too bad and she used to sing me the old London songs and that is where I got the interest in musical hall. The favourite song I used to like was ‘Strolling along down the Mile End Road’. My Nan used to sing it every Saturday night and I have still have got that interest in the old time music hall. I belong to a group in Berkhamsted that does old time music halls for charity, we raised I think £4,000 about four, five months ago, so I love the old songs and I also like music and try to play the keyboard as well, so I think I have got that interest from those times as well.
My Mother used to do some War work as well along with my Nan as well. They used to make clothes for the troops. They were both good machinists and we had two singer machines in the house and they used to make clothes. One of the things they used to make a lot of were the khaki ties and the RAF ties and I don’t know if you know, but the ties are made inside out and when you make them you make them inside out and then you have a stick which you put in it and push one end and it goes in and it turns them the right way round and that was my job. Nan and Mum used to make these ties and I used to have this special stick and used to have to push these sticks through the ties to put them the right way round. So that was what they used to make mostly, they used to make shirts as well but mostly ties.
Q: Did they have to collect the material from someone?
A: That I can’t remember. I can’t remember where they got the material from it just suddenly appeared and I don’t know where they went but I know they used to make these ties and the shirts at home.
And the other thing that my Mum used to do, which I have got an interest in is Maps because after the D Day landings of course, Mum and I used to plot the advance of the British and American and Canadian troops and so on as they advanced through Europe. So we used to have this big map of Europe on the dining room table every morning and we used to listen to the news and we used to try and pick out the towns that the troops advanced into. I used to enjoy seeing the advance of the troops and Mum and I used to draw this line on this map of Europe to see where they advanced from and of course we also invaded Italy and we used to plot the advance of the troops along from the bottom of Italy. We used to plot the Russians coming in from the East of course, so we had three advances on Berlin, that’s were I got the interest in maps from, I have always had that interest and that stems from those days as well.
As I said to you, we had quite a lot of bombing around the area and there was one area that was particularly badly hit and a number of houses, perhaps 10 or 12 houses, were almost completely demolished and it was left like this for a long while. So at the end of the war we had lots of wood for a bonfire night so we had this big celebration after the war and there was plenty of wood because there was a lot wood on the houses like the staircases and the furniture and the window frames so we had an enormous big bonfire with a big guy on the top. So we set light to this bonfire and there was not restrictions in those days but the bonfire was so enormous that unfortunately that the heat was so intense it burnt the paint off of the house that had in fact survived the blast which were on the other side of the road, how they survived I don’t know but that is one of the peculiarities of bombing and all sorts of peculiar things happened. But the whole paint was burnt of the houses so we had to make a quick retreat but I remember people came out to through water on the bonfire but it took some time to douse the fire because it was so intense, the heat.
The other thing that I remember, in Finsbury Park itself, I don’t know if any of you know the park it is a venue now for a lot of concerts, pop concerts, it is a big venue but I can remember it because I used to go and kick a ball around and knock conkers off the trees that were there of course. But also during the war it had barrage balloons, these were balloons that were filled with light gas, you have probably seen pictures of them. They were suspended in the air, the idea was the planes would get caught up in the wire and they would get hit the barrage balloons but to my knowledge they didn’t work very well. But also they other thing they had in there was the anti aircraft guns. So not only did we have the noise of the aircraft’s but we also had the noise in the nights of the anti aircraft guns trying to shoot the aeroplanes down. But then of course the Germans stopped sending aircraft’s over then they started send the V1 rockets called doodlebugs and these things used to come over and they were quite slow but we knew they were coming because the noise of the engines you could hear them coming and they would stop and then Mum used to pray that it wouldn’t hit us and fortunately it didn’t. But of course it was a terrible time when the engine stopped and you just hopped that it wasn’t going to hit you. But when the V2’s came they were much quicker and you didn’t hear them coming and you didn’t know they were coming until you were hit and that was much worse. Perhaps it wasn’t worse were you didn’t have the suspense it was going to drop on you and it was worse when the engine stopped almost above you, it seemed as though it stopped almost above your house.
Q: Can you tell me how you used your ration book?
A: The ration books, well I didn’t do much shopping as I was too young but Mum used to take great care over the ration book because when you went into buy your whatever it was, your groceries because very often you were rationed as to how much you could have like margarine or bacon and you had points and those of you of have seen Dads Army and Corporal Jones in his butchers shop received the points on the customers and they had special customers that received just a little bit more. These ration books continued until after the war. You have probably heard people say that they never saw a banana, well I never saw a banana but I saw these imitation bananas used to hang up in these grocery shops and I never could understand what these things were because you never saw bananas and I have made up for it since because I quite like bananas.
Q: How did you think changed after the war? Because you were used to life during the War although to everyone else they would have been going back to times before the War.
A: I just think you though it was your lot you didn’t think that it was strange or anything. The end of the War was declared the War in Europe was declared over, the War in Japan was declared over and you just continued your life really, the only difference was that there was no one trying to kill you really.
Q: You didn’t have to carry gas masks?
A: No, you didn’t have to carry gas masks anymore. Wish I had kept them really know because they are quite valuable especially the mickey mouse ones.
Q: Do you remember the Morrison shelter leaving the house.
A: No not really, I think I can remember the Anderson shelter next door being taken away and I could also remember after the War the prefabricated houses being put up. Where I mentioned earlier on when we had the big bonfire and the houses were completely destroyed, that was eventually flattened and prefabricated houses were put on it. You can still see a prefabricated house in the Chiltern open air museum. These prefabricated houses were only supposed to last for a certain time, five or six years, but people were still living in them 20, 30 years after the War I think. In Lancashire, they are still living in them.
Contributed originally by Jim Hepting (BBC WW2 People's War)
Home From Home. by Jim Hepting.
The story of one child's experience of the Blitz
and finally evacuation during the second World War.
My name is Jim. I was one of a family of 13 children,all born between 1923 and 1945. I was born in January 1934 and attended my first
infants school in 1939. After attending there for
a year I began to hear rumours from some of the teachers that we may all be evacuated at some stage, as a direct result of the declaration of war with Germany. Just before I was about to leave the school one afternoon I saw a big lorry drive up to the main gate. There were men on the back of the lorry in uniform, women also. They unloaded a massive silvery looking object into
the playground. When we all arrived at school the following morning we were amazed to see a large silver balloon floating above the school.
It was our first sight of what we later found out to be a barrage balloon, which was going to be a defence against the German airplanes that were expected to carry out air raids on london.
We all stood gazing at this massive balloon which
was going to be a permanent feature in our playground, at least until it was sent soaring high into the sky with it's thick wire cables
holding it to the ground.It had three half round tail pieces on the back which were keeping it in one place. On the ground it was being controlled by several people, including woman, all in uniform. One day while we were all sitting in the classromm there was an almighty crash on the school roof as the balloon had blown out of control as it was being lowered in a strong wind.
We all thought that a bomb had hit the school, as there were tiles and pieces of stonework all falling into the playground. I have never heard such a loud noise. I never felt too safe at all after that incident. The school was,Stamford Hill
infant and junior school, Seven Sisters Rd,Tottenham,London N15. That incident may well still be on record in the local town hall archives.
One Monday morning when we were all in the assembly hall, our headmaster, Mr Crabb,informed us all that we may all have to be evacuated to the countryside if it were considered that London would be a main target for the Luftwaffe,
The German airforce.
Months passed and there was no sign of German planes. My father had joined up as an Air Raid
Warden, and my eldest brother joined up at 17 years of age into the Army. He eventually finished up in the Airborne division. Another brother joined the Merchant Navy. They both looked very smart in their uniforms, and I used to look forward to them coming home on leave.
My father's Warden post was not far from our house and my mother used to take him some sandwiches and a jug of tea when he was on duty.
I used to go and see him quite regularly. He was always playing cards with his other warden friends.
Everything remained peaceful and quiet for the next few months. It was difficult to believe that we were at war at all. Then, one day, as we all sat at our desks in the school classroom we
heard the air raid warning siren begin to wail.
We had heard it before, mainly when they were testing and practising in the event of an air raid.
This was for real, we all heard the intermittent drone of the German bombers high overhead on this particular day and the teachers herded us all into a concrete air raid shelter in the corner of the girl's playground. We sat in there and just listened. There seemed to be many bombers in the sky, but our school barrage balloon was not high enough at that stage to do
any real harm. I will never forget the noise of
those German planes, but fortunately all of their bombs fell pretty wide of our school. We could hear the strange whistle as the bombs screamed earthwards, then there came the explosions in the distance. this went on for approximately half an hour before we heard the sound of the all clear. That raid made me really frightened that day.
On the same night as that we were all indoors
keeping ourselves amused listening to a speech by Adolf Hitler, on an old Cossor radio that had a very large battery in the back and an accumulator. I never knew what the accumulator did or what purpose it served. The radio was quite crackly but we all listened to the ranting and raving of this German, who they called the Fuhrer.
On this same night the air raid warning sounded again and after about 5 minutes we heard the dreaded drone of the German planes again. This was now about 10 o/clock at night and my mother rushed us all out into the back garden and into an Anderson air raid shelter made of corrigated iron.
It was half buried in earth and was right at the back of the garden. Everybody had them deliverd months before the air raids, but we never really expected to have to use them
Being such a big family we couldn't all get in, so the neighbours either side of us lifted some of us
over their fences and we stayed in their shelters until the all clear sounded. This night raid was more frightening to me as a child because I hated
the dark anyway, and we could not have any form of light on because of the Blackout rules. It was pitch black, cold and wet in our shelter
Then all of a sudden there was a massive explosion
which sounded very near. the ground shook, and you could hear lumps of metal hitting the roofs of the nearby houses. It was shrapnel, fragments of the bombs flying everywhere as they exploded. All oif a sudden my old mum started singing, and one of my brothers played the mouth organ, and we finished up a lot more cheerful then. The bombs just kept exploding everywhere, and you could see the sky light up with a orange red glow as the buildings and
factories went up in flames. This went on night after night, after the initial daylight raids, so my
mum decided that next time a night raid came we would get to the Manor House underground station,
as it was safer there.
We arrived there carrying old blankets and sheets and made our way down to the station platform.
I will always remember those people already down there. just lying around on makeshift beds. One man
was playing a piano accordion and many of them were singing along with him. People of all ages, and all backgrounds all joined in together.I recall lying awake all night wondering if a bomb was going to fall and bury us all alive. That was my biggest fear down the under ground. During the day all the kids would be out searching for pieces of shrapnel
from the bombs and anti aircraft shells that were fired at the german planes all throughout the raid.
But it was a waste of time because they were too high to hit. Barrage balloons were flying everywhere. The whole sky was covered with them.
My mother had had now had enough of London and the terrible danger of remaining there during these raids so she finally decided that we would all be evacuated. I was sent to Cornwall, a little village named Goonhavern, where i lived with a very nice family, named Eplett. My mother went with the youngest children to Luton in bedfordshire. My father stayed in London, as he had a job to do as an air raid warden. In fact we were scattered all over the country. One in Norfolk, another two in South Wales. In late 1944, just before the war ended I returned to London. While i had been away a V2 rocket had decimated a whole area of the road I
lived in, Tewkesbury Rd, Tottenham N15. My mother lost two of her best friends when a flying bomb had fallen on Broadwater Road,Tottenham. It is now the site of the Broadwater Road Estate. As I looked around at the bomb sites all over the place I was glad we had been evacuated from the worst of the Blitz. Our own house had every pane of glass smashed out dut to the rocket blast, but they had been boarded up until the war damage companies got round to repairing everything. My Dad told me he had slept in the warden's post most nights when it was quiet. When all the family were re-united at the end of the war we all felt like strangers to each other as we had been split up for so long.
I am glad to say we all finished up safe and sound.
Ours was a happy story, although it did take us all
some time to re-adjust to our virtual slum surroundings after living in more comfortable homes