- Contributed by
- Braintree Library
- People in story:
- Stephen Williams
- Location of story:
- Chelmsford, Essex
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 22 April 2005
Cyril switched off the light, bent low and clambered into the shelter and fell asleep. He sudden awoke feeling uneasy, went outside the shelter and heard a quiet singing sound and realised it was the sound of the barrage balloons cables being pulled taut. He knew that the balloons had been sent up high and that meant trouble. He and his mother quickly dressed and looked out the back door joined by their neighbour Mrs Hart and her son Ken. About 2 miles to the south west a brilliant light filled the sky and realised this flare was coming their way. Having gone back inside and taken shelter they heard an aircraft engine and at the same time a loud whooshing sound. Vibrating explosions shook the house followed by whistling shrieks, the whoosh of rockets and the crack of shells. Would it never end? And then — silence.
There was a noise at the back door and there was Cyril’s father in his uniform and steel helmet who had been sheltering in the warden’s post checking to make sure his family was safe before going on duty. Cyril and his father went to look outside; all was quiet until they heard the sound of a plane flying fast and low. It grew louder and they felt the shock of its bombs falling even though they were dropped on the other side of town before it grew quiet again.
The family waited anxiously for the All Clear then heard a crack and the lights went out. They saw flashes from behind the blackout followed by a heavy rolling rumble. It was a storm, it seemed that the Devil was having a last dance and we saw flashes of forked lightning around the barrage balloons setting fire to them one by one then falling to the ground like giant red Catherine Wheels.
At around 3.30am the All Clear finally sounded and when Cyril went to school later that day all his classmates were swapping tales of gore and bravery. Their headmaster gave them a stern lecture about discipline and air raids were not to distract them from their studies. When Cyril arrived home his father was there and his infectious spirit dispelled any fears that Cyril had, even more so when he showed him a 3 foot piece of shrapnel that was buried in the back door where they had been standing 10 hours before!
Abridged from a longer story submitted by Mr Williams
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.