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15 October 2014
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Air Raid on Ramsgate: John Side 3

by Thanet_Libraries

Contributed by 
Thanet_Libraries
People in story: 
John Side
Location of story: 
Ramsgate
Article ID: 
A2601361
Contributed on: 
05 May 2004

This is a story by John Side. It has been written by his daughter Lyn Davis who kindly provided it to the Thanet Libraries and UK-Online project during the session at Broadstairs Library.

John Side - Air raid on Ramsgate

As a member of the L.D.V. (Local Defence Volunteers) I found myself on guard duty with my broomstick every fifth night in various vulnerable parts of Ramsgate, such as the Waterworks, Post Office and bus depot. There was also evening training sessions, and it was at these that I learned Morse code and signals, which was to prove advantageous when I was later called up for duty in the Royal Artillery.

After some weeks we were kitted out with a type of uniform, but still no firearms. On a typical evening parade anything that looked fearsome was allowed on parade. There was always the threat of invasion, but I did not feel we were any match against the Huns. Saturday August 24th 1940 will stay in the memory of anyone my age who lived in Thanet at the time — especially at 11.15 that morning. A squadron of German bombers were approaching Manston, when their leading aircraft was shot down over the harbour. They in vengeance decided to release their bombs over Ramsgate — this was the first air raid by them on an unprotected town. At around 11.00 on Saturday, I was working at the top silo of the Hudson’s flour mill. I had reached the top of the silo when the air raid siren sounded, it would have been impossible to reach ground level very quickly, and hearing the planes engines I peered out of a window just in time to see the enemy planes release their bombs right overhead. The noise was ear-splitting as the bombs exploded on the ground below. I was unhurt but the air was filled with dust for the mill had received some hits. The bombing had cut off all the electricity, I had a very difficult time climbing down in utter darkness with dust choking me.

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