- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mrs Healy
- Location of story:
- Reading, Berkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 28 April 2005
In Feb 1943 a lone plane offloaded its bombs on to Broad Street in Reading, destroying Grassteads Store, Wellsteads, People's Pantry and the Post Office - luckily on a Wednesday when the shops were shut though, even so, about 70 people were killed. I believe these were the only bombs ever to fall on Reading.
I was staying with my grandmother in Wolseley Street. I was 4 years old and begged to be allowed to go to Coley Recreation Ground with the neighbours older children. We were playing happily when the sirens started and everyone ran to the shelter in the park.
In the confusion, I was separated from the other children and found myself in this strange place with a bad smell and no light. I panicked and made such a fuss that after a few minutes the adults said "Oh, let her go"!
There was nobody around and an eerie silence. I ran towards my grandmother's house and was very relieved to see her running towards me. She dragged me past the big advertising hoardings (Margaret Lockwood - Lux soap) and threw me into the house as the plane went overhead. The plane was so close that my grandmother could see the pilot's face. He was grinning. The pressure of the plane blew the front door open. He fired at a neighbour who was hanging out her clothes. My grandmother was shaking.
I didn't realise until long afterwards how close a shave I had had. They put hoardings around the bomb site. You could peek through and see - bodies, no just shop dummies.
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