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WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk
People in story: 
Fred Morrad, Barry Pitkin
Location of story: 
Luton, Bedfordshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
25 September 2005

This contribution to WW2 People's War was received by the Action Desk at BBC Radio Norfolk. The story has been written by Mr Fred Morrad and has been submitted to the site with the permission and on behalf of Mr. F Morrad. He fully understands the sites terms and conditions.

Air Raid on Luton

I was born in 1932 and my family lived during the war and after at Luton in Bedfordshire. My father was an aircraft inspector at the Percival Aircraft Company which was at the other side of Luton to where we lived. In 1940 there was a daylight raid on both Percival's and on the Vauxhall factory which was close to the airport. We were fairly used to the sirens sounding with their rising and falling wail so didn't take that much notice.

We had a coal bunker against the fence just outside the back door and my mother and I as we looked up could see a formation of about twelve planes high in the sky. I suppose they were about two miles away, and ten thousand feet or so up in the sky. I climbed on the coal bunker to watch. The aeroplanes kept steadly on although I remember one plane coming down as there were some fighters around them. They passed over and out of sight as we watched and we heard several thuds as bombs were dropped, although we didn't know where they fell.

When my father came across he told us he had been coming out of one of the hangars as a stick of bombs was dropped across the airfield close to him. He was blown back into the hangar by the blast. My school friend Barry Pitkin lived about 300 yards along the road from me. His father worked at Vauxhall Motors which had been bombed. His father didn't come home. He had been killed. It was during the school holidays, so when we went back nobody mentioned Barry's father's death. Barry later went on to obtain a 1st Class Honours Degree in Aerodynamics at Imperial College.

When I hear politicians talk about disadvantaged children I remember Barry — and several others as well. Young children then, grew up very quickly.

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