John Jones' Story

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My mother, sister and I returned to London after being evacuated for 6 months and stayed till the blitz really started. The first bomb, a 500KG, dropped on a cycle shop opposite the East India Dock baths in Poplar.
We lived in Bath street practically opposite, but the King George 5th hall took the full blast of the bomb and saved our house about 300yds away, we were in the Anderson in the garden of our home.
I can remember when the rum wharf in the West India dock was hit and caught alight-you could read newspaper in the street after every air raid.
Kids of my age used to go round the streets trailing magnets on a length of string to pick up shrapnel from anti-aircraft shells, or look for incendary bombs that hadn't ignited.
We re-evacuated early 1942, and soon after the Jerries dropped an aerial torpedo which took the roof off the house, and later a land mine which finished the house off completely. Had we been in the shelter I would be playing a harp now.
The nearest I got to any war after the second evacuation was the night Coventry got blitzed and we saw German bombers flying low on their way home the next morning. I understand some civvies got machine gunned by them.
There were several airfields around us and aircraft crashes were common. Wellington bomber loaded with bombs crashed into a public house at Winslow in Buckinghamshire. A Mitchell bomber crashed on take off at Siverstone airfield, all crew died-though we were safe from bombs we had the war all around us.
Anyone remember the Nissan type shelters all along the side of the country roads stock full of ammo and war material, tanks, guns ,lorries parked in any space that could accomodate them-and as kids we never interfered with them although they were left unguarded-you dare not leave anything around nowadays-JJ

Updated 4/30/07