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15 October 2014
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Some Excitement in Plumstead

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Iris Gildon
Location of story: 
Plumstead, London
Article ID: 
A4541429
Contributed on: 
25 July 2005

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXTRACT FROM A TWELVE PAGE LETTER WRITTEN BY IRIS GILDON TO A FRIEND, CISSY, WHILST LIVING DURING THE WAR AT 46 CONWAY ROAD, PLUMSTEAD, LONDON SE18. THEY KEPT IN TOUCH, AND AFTER CISSY'S DEATH, HER DAUGHTER PASSED THE LETTER BACK TO IRIS. IRIS CONTACTED JOHN YOUNG, OF BBC SOUTH EAST TODAY, ABOUT IT. WITH HER PERMISSION HE HAS POSTED THIS EXTRACT ON THE WEBSITE FOR ALL TO SEE.

"So far today we have been lucky. It is eleven, and up to now we have heard no sirens. I think we will hear it soon, as planes are buzzing about now. I have just been out to see if I can see any but it is too cloudy and as the sun is rather bright, they are probably making use of that.

Last Saturday, when they dropped the bomb in Galloson Road, they dropped them in Mineral Street and what an ear splitting row they made. Fortunately, Dad was in the garden watching and he saw the bombs released and he came in and told us to get udner the table or somewhere. As we have a bed downstairs, Hilda and I got under that. Then we just had to lay and listen to it whistling through the air until it landed and then then house shook and the noise hurt our ears. Ever so many houses had their windows blown out and slates blown off too, but so far all we have is a pane of glass cracked in our French windows. Since then, the gunfire has been so heavy that it has shaken a lot of the ceilings down, not in our house, but in some of the houses along this road.

Well, I am now writing this in Mrs Earle's shelter. She has got hers up indoors. As you will gather by me taking shelter, the sirens have done a bit of work now, and although planes are thundering around overhead, nothing has happened yet.

I have been caught down at Hilda's twice during an all night raid. Those shelters are okay for an hour or two, but eight or nine is too much.

Well, the guns are going it now, but so far we haven't heard any bombs drop.

We had some excitement the Saturday before last. A Messerschmitt 109 (hope it's spelt right) was brought down in Ann Street. A Spitfire was after it and a dogfight went on overhead, then down it came, making a horrible row. One wing came off and sailed just over our house. Dad thought it would land in the road, but it just cleared the houses on the other side of the road and landed in a garden in Hector Street. The rest of the plane crashed in the gardens of two houses. It caught fire so that it was not much to look at. The cockpit buried itself about three feet in the ground, so we were told by a fireman when we went to see it. We could only see the ends of the propellor as it was buried. There was a yellow dragon with red claws painted on the little bit of the cockpit that could be seen. The rest of the plane was such a mess you couldn't tell what was what. The people started a Spitfire fund and let people in to see it; they collected about £9/6- (?) There was a fund started to see the wing too but that was only left there for a day so they didn't get so much.

(SEVERAL PAGES LATER):

I can't think of any more to tell you now as it would take a book to write about all that's happened just around here.

I hope you are feeling better now after your collision with a twenty ton lorry. I also trust that all the family are alright.

Well we are going to try and have some tea now as we have just heard some more planes go over.

Cheerio now, as I am going to close my letter. Hope you don't get eye strain reading through it.

Love to all,

Iris"

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