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15 October 2014
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“If We're going to get Killed, I’d Rather We were all Killed Together.”

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Dorothy May Parker, George William Parker, Clara Matilda Parker, Kenneth george Parker, Robert James, Margery James, Peter R. Stephens
Location of story: 
Newton Abbot, 1940
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
26 April 2005

When war broke out I lived in Worcester Park with Dad, Mum, brothers John, 19, and Ken, 10.

Early August 1940, Mum, Ken and I went to Newton Abbot, Devon, to stay with our former neighbours Margery, Bob and nine-year-old Peter.

One day we went by bus to Torquay, and on the way back we were passed by a steam train as we journeyed through the hills. The train and bus stopped side by side at Newton Abbot Station, and I looked ahead and saw three planes. “Look Bob, planes,” I said. “Supposing they were…” and before I could say “German” we could see six objects falling from the first plane.

“GET DOWN!” shouted Bob, and threw himself over the boys. The noise… I’ll never forget. I remember feeling quite calm, and thinking “This is what it feels like to die”. I know I thought of Dad, and prayed “Oh God, take care of Dad”.

Then the noise stopped. The conductor, who had dived under the bus with the driver, came up and told us to go to a nearby shelter. We were covered in glass, but no-one was injured. As I went down the bus stairs, the stacks of coal round the station were all ablaze, the engine was on its side; there were pairs of wheels on and off the rails, strips of metal and slivers of wood, bodies all round, and a man kneeling beside a woman’s body.

I saw a woman carrying a baby, dressed in red? — no, blood. As we crossed the road we saw a bit of railway line, twisted like a drinking straw. It must have been blown right over us.

We stayed up that night to hear Lord Haw-Haw, who said there had been a successful raid on “Exeter Junction” — we were glad they were wrong! Then Mum said “If we are going to get killed, I’d rather we were all killed together.” We went home next day.

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Melita Dennett on behalf of Dorothy Parker with her permission. Dorothy fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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