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- Alan John Wrigglesworth
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- 15 November 2005
At the outbreak of war I was living at 124 Hartland Avenue, Wyken, Coventry and attended Scoke Heath School. I remember well lining up at school to be fitted with a gas mask and afterwards putting them on; and classes filing down into the basement which was the boiler house of the school and sitting amongst the piles of coke.
On November 14th 1940 the sirens sounded early and the damily went down the Anderson Shelter at the rear of next door’s garden. The exceptions were my older sister who was acting as a messenger and my grandmother who refused and insisted on sitting under the stairs. My father (a veteran of 1918) at the time was on nightshift at the Alvis on the Holyhead Road and had already set off on this bicycle to work.
The German Aircraft were easy to pick out on the moonlit night apart from the distinct sound of their desynchronised engines.
As the raid got worse, my grandmother was persuaded to come down the shelter and our neighbours’ relatives from Berry Street arrived to join us. Around midnight there was a thump on the roof of the shelter ad the adults went outside to put out what turned out to be an incendiary bomb. Meanwhile a stick of bombs fell in the immediate vicinity destroying a block of four houses further down the road and one in the other direction. The glow in the sky and the noise was incredible. The general feeling was that the Germans were aiming for the Admiralty Ordnance Works in Red Lane and Morris Motors at Courthouse Green.
When eventually the ‘All Clear’ sounded we emerged and the family from Brry Street returned home. During the night a delayed action bomb had landed in their garden and during the morning it exploded destroying a block of six houses. No trace of the family was ever found.
Meanwhile my father returned home. When the sirens had gone he had entered on of the surface shelter, leaving his bicycle outside. All that remained of the bicycle was the front wheel which he came home carrying, much to the relief of my mother.
The water mains had been hot and for some reason our house was the only one left with running water. People were coming from everywhere with all kinds of receptacles for my mother to fill but my mid-morning our taps had run dry as well.
The story continues in ‘Evacuation to Radway, Warwickshire’.
This story was entered by Jenni Waugh, BBC People’s War Outreach Officer, on behalf of Mr Wrigglesworth who accepts the site’s terms and conditions.
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