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A Fighter Plane Shells Norwood, South London, 20th January 1943 by Edwin O'Callaghan

by West_End_at_War

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Edwin O'Callaghan
Location of story: 
Norwood, South London
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
22 June 2004

This story was submitted to the People War’s site by Naomi Hoffman of CSV Media on behalf of Edwin O’Callaghan and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was 11 years and 4 months. I was attending St Josephs College, Beuluh Hill, Norwood.

The Siren/Air raid warning went off at 12.30 pm. This was unusual because there had been no emerging air activity by day since 1940. A frock-Woolf, a particulary fast German fighter which was one of twenty enemy aircraft which succeeded in getting through to London without being challenged.

The particular aircraft flew down Beuluh Hill as I was standing on the corner of Norbury Hill. Two women with a pram were halfway across the road. I threw myself on the ground and shouted “It’s a Jerry” However, they did not hear me or didn’t understand me. Small flashes came from the aircraft wing and it flew right over me at a low level.

They were all killed instantly. People came out of the houses to ask if I was alright. Part of their bodies were scattered over the road and fell on me at the time.

I was told, afterwards, that this was due to being hit by cannon shells. I went home with a much older boy to explain to my mother what had happened. It would appear that the South East of London was badly hit. A bomb hit the girl’s high school in Catford and 38 girls were killed along with 6 members of staff.

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
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