- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Amelia. Fred, Maurice, Martin and Lawrence SMITH
- Location of story:
- Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 30 September 2004
This story starts in 1939, the beginning of World War II.
My great-grandparents, Amelia, Fred and their son Maurice, my granddad, were living in East Ham, London. They thought that, with the war coming, they lived too near the docks and might be a bombing target, so, they decided to move to a safer area. One Sunday afternoon they came to Rickmansworth on the Metropolitan Line train. They set off on one of their normal weekend walks around the town and villages, to see if they liked it. During their ramble they saw some new houses, twelve out of twenty four houses were still for sale. They thought it was a lovely town so when they went back to London they decided to move to Rickmansworth. By the time they went to choose a house there were only two left. One house had a path next to it and plans had been made to turn it into a road, so my great-grandparents chose the other house, the one I live in at the moment. The house they didn’t choose was 6 doors down.
My great-grandparents and my grandad, aged 9, moved into their new house in August 1939. War broke out in September. Soon after some people bought the house by the path. A year later these people had a German lodger living with them. Perhaps he left Germany because he didn’t like Hitler?
One night, in 1941, the year the Blitz started, the people in the other house, including the German, had gone out. Later that night a German bomber plane was flying back to Germany after a raid and it had one bomb left. The pilot wanted to make his plane lighter for the return journey so he just dropped the bomb. It could have landed anywhere! It landed on the house down the road. It was one of the very few bombs to drop in this area.If my great-grandparents had chosen that house they would have died because the house was completely flattened.
At the end of the war my granddad took bricks and slabs from the ruined house in a wheelbarrow. He also found a penknife belonging to the German, which he still has. His dad used the bricks to make a path in the garden. When my dad and I made a path a few years ago we found the old path and used some of the bricks (the one my granddad made had been covered in grass and rotted away). At the time this event happened fields surrounded most of my house. Today we are in the middle of a huge housing area.
If my great-grandparents had died, my dad would not have been born, I would not have been born, I would not have written this and you would not have read a story that is special to me today.
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