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
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
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