- Contributed by
- CSV Media NI
- People in story:
- Lilian Sloan
- Location of story:
- Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Background to story:
- Civilian Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 21 July 2005
This story has been transcribed and published by Mark Jeffers, with permission from the author.
I left the ARP just as the war was starting. My husband wanted me to look after the children at home. We lived on Wigton Street, one street over from Percy Street. One Easter Tuesday, I had just put my daughter to bed and I was boiling the kettle for a cup of Oxo. Just as the kettle boiled the air raid sirens went off. All the mills were in that area, Edenderry Mill, Ewart’s Mill and Brookfield Mill and a fortnight before they had bombed the shipyard and the aircraft factory. That’s why I was so quick to react, I suppose.
I was looking out the window and I saw the reflection of a flare; they dropped flares to light the area they wanted to bomb. I ran upstairs and lifted my daughter out of bed and we hid in the coalhole under the stairs in the house. My husband came in and we all huddled there. My husband put his arm around me. The bombs whistled through the sky and the next thing the house shook. They dropped many bombs and hit lots of houses in the area but one plane had dropped a landmine that landed directly on top of an air raid shelter in Percy Street. The shelter was not reinforced and took a direct hit and killed all the people inside. There were fifty people inside including a soldier and a sailor.
There were people crying in the streets that night. I went upstairs in our house and the ceiling had collapsed in my daughter’s room; she would have been killed if she had still been lying there.
I left to go and check on my mother and my sisters and as I was walking through the back streets the sun was coming up. I saw my doctor on his knees tending to a woman. I said “Morning Doctor,” and when he turned he had such a look of pain on his face after such a disaster.
It was very strange because every house had its front door damaged, except one door would be blown in and the next would be blown out, alternately all the way up the street.
The walls of our house and all the other houses in the street cracked open. We lived right in the middle of the street and you could see all the way up through the back rooms of each house to the end of the street. All the houses had to be renovated after the bombing and we couldn’t live in our house so we moved to Straid near Ballyclare for a couple of months.
The children were then sent to Randalstown as evacuees.
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