- Contributed by
- East Riding Archives
- People in story:
- Jean Elletson (nee Bell)
- Location of story:
- Cottingham, Yorkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 16 October 2004
I was born in 1933 and lived in North Hull in Endyke Lane in Cottingham. The house had a very long garden with the air raid shelter, an Anderson shelter, at the bottom of the garden. At the rear of the house was a track leading to two farms and that's where Cottingham started. There had been lots of raids before then and after this incident but this one always stayed in my mind. I think it was in the spring of 1941. It must have been early evening because I hadn't gone to bed. Because the air raid shelter was at the bottom of the garden my mother had made a shelter in the house in what was a cupboard under the stairs because it was often difficult to get to the shelter in the garden because it was such a long walk and it was dark. What worried my mother was the distance. This particular night the air raid warning had gone and my mother said we had better go down to the shelter. This was unusual and I think she probably had some warning that the raid was going to be a heavy one. There were air raid wardens based in the town. They had probably been round and said it would be better to go to the shelter. We went through the back door into the porch and were just going to run down the garden when up in the sky there was a German plane. We knew it was German because it made a different noise. German planes had a drone. We now saw a parachute open and attached to it was a large oil drum shaped object. This was presumably the bomb. My mother immediately pushed me back into the house, shut the door and dived into the cupboard under the stairs. Soon after this there was a loud thud and explosion afterwards. Soon after that there was a blast and the back door blew open and the house shook. We stayed where we were until the all clear went. I was absolutely terrified and clung to my mother. After the all clear we came out and went outside and had a look. We could see smoke and flames on the farm land behind the house. This was fortunate because it didn't cause us much damage. The next morning I walked round to have a look and there was a large hole, like a large pond, that over the next few weeks filled up with water. Afterwards the air raid wardens came round. After an air raid we all went out into the front to see if anybody needed help.
A lot of people did use cupboards. My mother had block of wood to wedge the door slightly open. We had what was called a bed chair and blankets and pillows.
Another incident soon afterwards we got to know that a relative in East Hull had a house that was damaged. We went on the bus to see them and noticed that where houses were damaged a lot of them still had the stair cases still there. We brought the family back to North Hull because their house in Preston Road was so damaged. They stayed with us and other relatives until their house was repaired.
In 1942 my dad was posted to India with the RAF and we went to live my grandma at Rise and I stayed there for two years. My dad said when he went to India to take me to grandmas in Rise because it was safer. We could see the raids in Hull but apart from rattling the windows sometimes that was as much as we saw. I came back in late 1943 to start school in Hull to study for a scholarship for Grammar School, which I took in 1944 and passed. Then my father came back in 1945.
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