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Audrey Evans - Bombing in Sittingbourne

by A7431347

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Audrey Evans
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14 July 2005

In 1942 I was living in Sittingbourne, I must have been six or seven years old at the time. Although we were on the German bomber route to London, we never used the air raid shelter as my mother thought it was too much hassle to get all of us children as well as my grandfather up out of bed and into it. That Autumn though something happened that was to change that policy!

One night a German bomber came flying over, which wasn’t unusual, but this night there was a British night fighter after him. We were all in bed at the time, we used to all sleep in the same room on the ground floor except my grandfather who stayed upstairs. I was sharing top-to-toe with my younger brother, with our bed pushed right up against the main wall. We also had an 18 month old brother asleep in a cot under the window. Anyway, the sirens went up but as usual we all just tried to ignore it and sleep through! With the fighter hot on his tail though the German bomber decided to release his bombs early, probably to lose the weight so he could try and get away and do at least some damage. He dropped two bombs, which together managed to all but flatten the whole row of houses that we lived in! Luckily for my baby brother by the window the black out curtain came in, covered the cot and protected him from the glass that also blew in with the explosion. My other brother and I by the wall however weren’t quite as lucky, it fell right on top of us and we were buried! The Air Raid Patrol wardens came and dug us out but it was terrifying! I also remember the first thing I thought when I saw these strangers in uniform. With all the German planes going over, my first thought was that they were Germans who had come to get us! Very scary!

Fortunately nobody died in that bombing, despite the row of six houses being all but demolished. We all went to stay at a relative’s house, and the next day my parents went back to see what could be salvaged. I didn’t go with them, but they told me who they saw when they got there. Picking his way through the rubble and wandering about was the fighter pilot who had shot down the German bomber. He was stationed at Detling but he had come to see how much damage had been done, obviously feeling a bit guilty and worried that someone had got hurt. My parents were very impressed and reassured him that nobody was hurt and he did well to do his job. It might seem like this was all a big event, our house being bombed out, but really we just carried on as normal, that’s how things were then. We were back at school within a couple of days!

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by James Barton and has been added to the website on behalf of Audrey Evans with his/her permission and they fully understand the site’s terms and conditions.

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