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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Bill wanted his Tea

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
William Fairbrother
Location of story: 
Hastings, East Sussex
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War website by Jacky Hayward of Hastings Community Learning Centre for BBC SCR on behalf of Mr William Fairbrother and has been added to the site with his permission Mr Fairbrother fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

My most vivid memory was in March 1943, I was 13 and attending Tower Road School, Bohemia, Hastings East Sussex., the school was set out with the boys on the top floor and the girls below.
It was 3.50 pm when we suddenly heard machine gun fire and bombs dropping, there had been no siren. The teachers told us to go to the shelter in the playground, the girls got there first, as they were on the ground floor and we came right behind with bullets hitting the floor. When the all clear went a few minutes later we were told to go home so I made my way to the Silverhill junction. The tobacconist had had a direct hit and Mr Gower the owner had been killed, (I saw him being dug out the next day, he was dark blue).
When I got to Tower Road a policeman stopped me and said I could not go up that road but, when I said I lived there he let me go to my home in the flats very near. When I got there I found my brother with his hair all white because the ceiling had come down. I started to sweep up so that when it was done we could have tea, but my Aunt said there would not be any.
We were taken to St Dominic’s Convent where we were to stay for the next three weeks until they moved us into a house in “Tin Town”. These houses were made from steel and made a terrible noise when knocked anything against them.

Another memory was earlier in 1942 I was in Old Roar Road delivering papers late in the morning, papers were often delayed because of bombings, when I heard machine gun fire and then a big crash, I quickly finished the last few papers and got on my bike and peddled after some Army lorries to Beaneys Lane where about 100 yards in, a Messerschmitt 110 had crashed right across the lane, there were 2 crew who were being pulled out, both dead. As I got closer a soldier came and told me not to get any nearer or a German would come and get me , I was gone like a rocket.
I remember my mother was in London during the war working as a welder, she had to weld fuel tanks for Spitfires, she then went on to making parachutes for flares at Slumber land. When we went to see her for holidays she would bring the parachutes home and we would all sit and sew and threadle the cord, it was piecework so the more we sewed the more my mother earned. I can still sew.

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