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15 October 2014
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Air Raid Monday morning 11.08 29th March 1943

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Pam Piercey
Location of story: 
Brighton, East Sussex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5406644
Contributed on: 
31 August 2005

Part of my job in the Borough Treasurer’s Department was to visit 5 Brighton schools each week so that parents of children evacuated to Yorkshire could pay for their keep without risking a visit to Brighton and threats from air-raids.

On Monday morning, 29th March 1943, I was at Lewes Road School. It was holiday time and I was therefore the sole occupant of the huge, empty building. As I sat in that cold little ground floor room with my back to the enormous windows looking onto Pevensey Road, I realised that if the building were hit in an air raid, no-one would know there was anyone inside.

The raid came suddenly with a rush of horrific noise, the screaming and explosion of dropping bombs, the shaking of the building and the deafening sound of very low flying aircraft, spattering the road outside with cannon fire. I crouched, arms over head, pressed closely to the skirting board between the two windows. At last came the blessed relief of silence and the feeling of gratitude for escape. As I got shakily to my feet, I was surprised to see a rather pale face staring back at me from the huge heavily-framed, old-fashioned mirror under which I had unknowingly been crouching. I may have been safe from the window glass but that mirror was guaranteed to kill anyone in its path had it been vibrated from the wall.

That was the morning the Brighton Clinic was hit and the damage I saw on my way back to the office in Prince’s Street included the complete destruction of the motorcycle shop by the little red church near the Astoria cinema, a shop which only 2 hours earlier had been happily trading as it had done for years.

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Sue Craig from MyBrightonandHove on behalf of Pam Piercey and has been added to the site with her permission. Pam fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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Message 1 - Air Raid Monday morning 11.08 29th March 1943

Posted on: 31 August 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Pam

Thank you for a very interesting and informative post. You are spot on with the time: 11.08.

That particular 'Hit and Run' raid, as they were called, was carried out by eight FW190s of 10/Jagdgeschwader (Fighter Group)/54. On 29 March they attacked Brighton, Hove, and Eastbourne. Four of these aircraft attacked Brighton.

One German plane was brought down over the Channel and the pilot's body was washed ashore a month later. He was Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Joachim Koch, aged 21; he now lies in a Brighton cemetery.

Regards,

Peter

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