- Contributed by
- Jenny Alderson nee Wares
- People in story:
- Jessie (Jenny) Stewart Alderson
- Location of story:
- Wick, Caithness, Scotland
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 12 November 2003
I was born in 1933 - the year Adolf Hitler came to power — in the Scottish fishing town of Wick, Caithness. Ten months after Britain declared war on Germany, on the 1st July 1940 I was badly injured in an air raid — the first daylight raid of the war, so I was told.
This story is not so much about me, but more about my little brother John and my friends, all of who were killed in the raid. I was the only survivor of our little group and it is my duty to tell the story, much as it distresses me to recall that terrible day.
Four days before the air raid I had my seventh birthday. My little brother John was four years eleven months old, his fifth birthday only three weeks away, a birthday he would never see.
We had gone out to play with a group of friends on the afternoon of the 1st July. My mother would have told me to look after John, me being the older child. The group consisted of four girls, two of who were sisters, Amy and Beth Miller, my other friend Isobel Bruce and myself. There were four boys Kenny MacGregor, Bruce Flett, Eric Blackstock and my brother John Wares.
We were playing at the top of Bank Row, just above the harbour, and had been there all afternoon. My mother came to tell us it was teatime but, as children do, we dallied a while. Thank God my mother didn’t wait for us.
The bombs hit the middle of the road just yards from where we were playing, demolishing a row of shops and houses, killing and injuring a number adults. There was no air raid warning.
I remember nothing of the explosion. All I recall is trying to wake up, the smell of the explosion, and choking on the dust. I picked myself up and stumbled down Bank Row. I must have walked over the spot where the bombs hit the road. When I turned the corner into the street where I lived, our house hadn’t a widow unbroken.
I was taken to the hospital and remembered the terrible moaning around me. My wounds were dressed and I was sent home, only to be sent back a few hours later after three more wounds were found in my chest and thigh.
Why I alone survived I will never know but I do know I have never forgotten my brother and my friends. To this day they live on in my memory. I may have only been a child when it happened but that day was indelibly printed on my mind.
God knows how our parents coped with the horror of that day and the terrible events of the war years that followed.
What happened to that innocent group of children was abhorrent. To think that even greater horrors were being suffered by children at that time, all over Europe and in other parts of the world is unbearable. To know that children all around the world are still suffering at the hands of adults is unbelievable.
A memorial is at present being planned to the children and adults who died in Wick so soon after war was declared, but I have had the memory of my brother and friends established in my heart and mind for the last sixty-three years. They are still beautiful children to me.
Jenny Alderson (nee Wares)
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.