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15 October 2014
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Memories of the Blitz on Hull

by BBC Open Centre, Hull

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Contributed by 
BBC Open Centre, Hull
People in story: 
John Rex Mizon
Location of story: 
Hull
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4500370
Contributed on: 
20 July 2005

17th June 2005

Being a schoolboy at the time, it was all very exciting. We lived near the heavy anti-aircraft gun battery at Costello playing fields. Nearly every night these guns would open fire — all the windows had to be left ajar to stop the blast form the guns breaking the glass. I don’t think they hit any aircraft, but they brought down a few barrage balloons! The windows were blacked out with strips of paper across to stop flying glass. There were also search lights criss-crossing the sky. Everything was rations; food, clothing, petrol, sweets.

We had an Anderson shelter in the back garden with a blast wall built in the front of it. It was constructed with corrugated steel with thick concrete all the way round it. The biggest problem used to be the cold and condensation. We had bunk beds built into ours so that when the raids were at the peak in May 1941, we went to bed every night in the shelter. The air raid sirens would start wailing about dusk, after the bombing raids the all clear would sound about daylight. It has been know for a German aircraft to fly low machine gunning the streets after the all clear; also for bombs to drop before the air raid sirens sounding.

I was still a schoolboy in 1941. We only went to school in the afternoons because most nights we didn’t get any sleep for the noise of explosions and guns firing.

We lived off Anlaby High Road near White City, which escaped any bomb damage but in Stirling Street a landmine did extensive damage. I stood outside the shelter one night and watched a flying bomb come over and then its engine cut out landing at the waterworks at Springhead. My grandparents house off Beverly road had a direct hit completely destroying it. They never went into the shelter on a night, but used to sleep under the stairs. For some reason or other, the night their home was destroyed was the one night they had decided to go outside to the shelter. Strangly enough, there was a chiming Westminster clock in on the mantelpiece and when they came to recover their belongings, this clock was under the floorboards. The blast had lifted the floorboards and, for some reason, they came back down. I still have that clock, well my daughter has, and it is still working.

Hull did get bombed very badly mainly because it was a large port, it was also on the flight path to Liverpool, if they had not dropped them on Liverpool they would drop them on Hull on the way back At one time in May 7th/8th/9th 1941 all of Hull city centre was on fire, the blaze could be seen nearly 100 miles away. The debris was loaded onto trucks and dumped on the side of the dual carriageway on Boothferry Road. The smell of burning rubble could be smelt for miles around. We would go round the streets every morning collecting shrapnel and parts of bombs and shells.

My two uncles were both in the Army and my father was on war damage in the city during the war. After the war I was conscripted into the Royal Tank Regiment in Germany. I was at Belson concentration camp — which was still being cleared up - for part of the time Displaced persons were roaming the country with no homes and no where to go We were then pushed up to the edge of the Russian Zone to stop the Russians moving into the west. We had Centurion tanks with 20 pounder main armament which made me go deaf in later life.
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Added by: Alan Brigham - www.hullwebs.co.uk

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