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15 October 2014
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Machine Gunned by a ME110

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Peter Brewer, Madeline Brewer (mother-deceased) William Brewer (Father deceased) Mr and Mrs Dingle
Location of story: 
Balham, SW London, Hove, Sussex, Whitehills, North Hampton, Ashford Nr Staines Middlesex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7590963
Contributed on: 
07 December 2005

Being 9 years old on 3rd September 1939 I was old enough to be excited but young enough not to be scared at the prospect of war. I was evacuated early on to Hove to my late aunt, then to the kindly Dingle family in Northhill Village, near Launceston. Cornwall, but that was of limited duration and I was back home to Balham in July 1940. In that brilliant summer the full force of the Luftwaffe was unleashed against us and the Battle of Britain commenced.

Bringing me back home from school one day during that summer, mother and I were machine gunned by a ME110 whose gunner evidently fancied a change from shooting at barrage balloons located on Balham Common. Mother sheltered me in a doorway, and I can still see the bullets littering the road only a short distance from mother. The images of this and of the ME110 black with black crosses and red swastikas will be with me forever.

When the Luftwaffe switched from daylight attacks to nightly bombing, there followed months of sleeping in a neighbour’s Anderson shelter culminating in another evacuation, with mother and I to our late friends in Northampton. We were there when the Luftwaffe bombed Coventry, having dropped flames over us on their way to Coventry. Incidentally my late father, a police officer, was based at Brixton until the station was severely damaged by bombing.

September 1940 saw the start of the nightly blitz. I can vividly recall the dreadful glow in the sky as the Germans set fire to the docks and the East End of London. Opposite us was a fire station with immaculately turned out firemen and engines etc. They all attended the fires that night, returning late the next day. Blackened, uniforms in shreds and utterly exhausted. Father was promoted and posted to Staines Police Station near Ashford where we made our home.

From June 1944 we then suffered Hitler’s “revenge weapons”, the V1, flying bombs and V2 rockets. Biggest escape for me was when a V2 blew up. Luckily it ws high up over our school!!

This story was entered on The People's War Website by Sue Castro on behalf of Peter Brewer, who understands the site's terms and conditions.

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