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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The Bombing of St Cuthman's

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Marie Turner (nee Yates)
Location of story: 
Whitehawk, Brighton
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
18 May 2005

I was four when the war started and we lived in Wiston Road, Whitehawk, Brighton. We were lucky as my dad worked on the railways so we could stay together.

I remember one night, it must have been 1943 and I’d be about eight — we heard the first bomb go off before the air raid warning actually started. Mum woke us up, my dad carried my brother down the stairs and we went straight to the underground dug out shelter in the street outside.

To be honest, at the time it was very exciting to me, and I don’t ever recall being frightened, other than being woken up with a start.

The nearby St Cuthman’s Church was hit by one of three bombs which fell that night, on the church, the football pitch and a field. I think the church was demolished and a church warden killed, but the cross wasn’t damaged. In the morning when we went to survey the damage, we found a huge piece of masonry at the top of our garden, and never did know where it came from.

Our garden backed onto a hill, and on another occasion I remember a Spitfire coming over with a German plane, and I watched the dogfight over the field. My husband’s friend was getting off the bus, and a stray bullet went straight through his calf — he still has the scar to this day.

This story was submitted to the People's War site by volunteer Melita Dennett on behalf of Marie Turner, and has been added to the site with her permission. Marie fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
Sussex Category
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