- Contributed by
- CSV Action Desk Leicester
- People in story:
- Lily, Percy and Janet Bull, (Grandmother) Rose Wells
- Location of story:
- Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 17 June 2005
The day began like any other November Monday in wartime Britain.
The year was 1940 and the market town of Melton Mowbray quiet except for a few shoppers huddled under umbrellas.
In their terraced house at number 3 Brook Street, my Mother and Grandmother were busy. Wash day then started with the lighting of a brick copper at dawn ending at bedtime. A tearful toddler didn't help. Placing a clothes horse of wet nappies round the fire my Mother decided a sleep in my cot was needed.
At that moment in the grey skies came the drone of a plane followed by a machine-gun fire in nearby Sherrard Street. This lone German bomber dropped a bomb into Scalford Brook running at the back of the house opposite killing one man and causing damage to surrounding houses, the front of our house taking the full force of the explosion.
Things happened very quickly. The police cordoned off the street only allowing fire and ambulance crews through. Soldiers from a nearby factory rushed to cut of the gas long afterwards my grandmother was to complain they ran across her bed leaving muddy footprints on the silk bed spread!
By the time the news had reached Garner's Garage on Scalford End where Dad was a fitter it was rumoured the bomb had landed in Roseberry Avenue. Thinking he didn't have too much to worry about Dad left work to stand chatting in Sherrard Street when someone remarked it was Brook Street that had 'coped' it. The police let him through.
Mr Newham our landlord lived in Bridge House on Thorpe End. He immediately said we could lodge there suggesting Grandma took me over leaving the others to start rescuing what they could from the rubble. Most of my toys were gone so Mrs Newham knitted me a doll in Dutch National costume.
We stayed at Bridge House for several weeks then by chance my mother learnt a lady was renting out her home until the war was over. It was a beautiful detatched house standing in large gardens on Scalford road. As we were homeless we were given first chance. My Grandmother hated it unpacking just bare essentials for herself and Grandad. Every afternoon she bundled me into my pram making the long trek to Brook Street hoping the building work was near completion to the amazement of Mr Newham who couldn't understand why she disliked living among the 'Nobs'. Grandma answered humbly she only wanted a neighbour.
Number 5 was ready first. As the family had moved away it became our new home.
Months later on a visit from London my Aunt Nell discussing the Blitz remarked that we in Melton knew nothing of the war. To which my mother icily replied "I know one thing Nell we've been bombed out of our home and yours is still standing."
'This story was submitted to the People's War site by Sara-Jane Higginbottom of the CSV Action Desk Leicester on behalf of Janet Brown and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.'
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