BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

A Rude Awakening

by Greyfriar

Contributed by 
Greyfriar
People in story: 
George and Ann Lawless
Location of story: 
Canning Town, East London.
Article ID: 
A2550863
Contributed on: 
22 April 2004

My grandparents, George and Ann Lawless, lived in Canning Town (East London) during their early married life - and the war.
My grandfather was a butcher by trade and my grandmother had a market stall selling mainly pets.
They remained in London during the war and gradually became immune to the wailing of the air raid siren; to the point that neither of them always bothered to run to the shelter if it was sounded.
My grandfather was basically night-blind so couldn't join the full-time armed services, but he was in the Home Guard. Often after an air raid he had to go to the bombed-out streets of East London and dig-out bodies in the aftermath.
It was something he couldn't really discuss afterwards, but we know he thought about it to his dying day.
One night during a particularly heavy period of bombing, my grandfather was out and my grandmother in bed at their Nelson Street home. The sirens started again and there was no way she was going to get up and dash to the shelter.
A bomb landed close to their home, just about flattening the street, but the force blew my grandmother and her bed through the window.
Fortunately she wasn't badly hurt - but the communal shelter on their street was completely destroyed.
There are times when getting out of bed are bad for your health!
It would be great if anyone out there remembers them - or the bombing of Nelson Street.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

The Blitz Category
Home Guard Category
London Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy