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Bombed out in Sheffield

by actiondesksheffield

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Dorothy Hill
Location of story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 May 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Dorothy Hill, and has been added to the site with the author’s permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

When war was declared in 1939, I was living in a back to back house in Granville Street Sheffield with my 2 children. Eric my husband was in the Army and was due to be posted overseas. One of the first things the Government did was to install an Anderson shelter in the wood yard which was close to our house.

On the first night of the Blitz, the German bombers came over and were obviously aiming for the Railway, which was really close to where we lived. Before we could even get to the shelter the bombing started so we hastily went down into the cellar.

My husband was on embarkation leave at the time, as he was due to go off to North Africa with the 8th army. The bombing went on all night, it was terrifying and we didn’t get a wink of sleep. We hadn’t even had time to take any food or drink down with us so it was pretty miserable. One of the memories of that night that stays in my mind is of Eric positioning himself so that I was protected as the bombs dropped. The wardens were also coming round all the time asking us if we were alright.

The next morning we emerged and looked at what was left of our house, and it was obvious that it was so badly damaged that we couldn’t live there anymore. In fact, most of the houses around us had been flattened so we gathered up what possessions we could salvage, and set off to make our way to my sister, who lived in Greenhill on the outskirts of the city.

We ended up staying with my sister for nearly 2 years. She didn’t have any children and worked at the Post Office in the centre of Sheffield. Like many people at that time, I didn’t find it easy having to share someone else’s house, especially with 2 children. My sister’s husband was a pilot, and whilst I was living with her, he was killed as his plane crashed coming into land. It was a very sad time!

One day someone told me that there was a house to let in Ranby Road, near Endcliffe Park, about a mile from the city centre, and we soon moved into the house that was to be my home for the next 58 years. I am now 90 years old so I would have been in my early thirties when we moved in.

In February 1944, I heard the sound of a plane which was flying very low. I looked out of my front window just in time to see a huge plane coming down the road. It was so low that oil was splattered all over my windows. The plane was obviously making for the park at the end of our road, but suddenly there was this huge explosion and people started to run out of their houses with blankets and first aid equipment, hoping that they would be able to save the crew. Sadly, all 10 were dead. I found out later that the plane was an American Flying Fortress, and every year there is a memorial service held at the site where it crashed, with a dwindling number of relatives and representatives from the Air Force in attendance. A poignant reminder of our war in Sheffield


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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Sheffield and South Yorkshire Category
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