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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The bombing of my school in Catford

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
June Doreen Goldsmith
Location of story: 
Catford
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4687437
Contributed on: 
03 August 2005

It all happened on a Wednesday when three German planes got through the defences and went in different directions. At the time I lived with my parents in Minard Road, Catford, and was about seven or eight years old. My school was at the far end of my road, at the top of Sandhurst Road.

That day, myself and the other lower school children were let out early as the older children were going to see a show called 'Midsummer Night Dreams'. I had just got home and was sitting down for my lunch when my mother and I saw a German plane flying past our window, in between the two rows of houses. We could see the pilot in the cockpit and a cross on the plane.

The pilot flew towards my school. He machine-gunned and killed children and teachers in the playground, and dropped a bomb on the school. Children were jumping out of the top windows. He then flew to Brownhill Road and gunned down a young woman as she walked down the street with her baby in a pram. The school was burning all night long and my mother and I didn't sleep that night.

Several days later I remember hearing a man giving a talk on the radio. It was about ~ the possible invasion, and I'm sure he mentioned the name of the pilot who'd bombed my school. He said, "All I hope is that when you receive your medals, pinned on you for the school that you bombed, that you remember the ribbons on the children who you killed."

This will always remain in my memory. Of course, I and many others might also have been killed had we not been let out early from school that day.

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
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