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15 October 2014
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The Night the Bombs Fell on Dundee

by Dundee Central Library

Contributed by 
Dundee Central Library
People in story: 
Lily R. Fox
Location of story: 
Dundee
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2640593
Contributed on: 
17 May 2004

That night, my young sister, who was 10½ years old, myself (12), and my two cousins, Nancy (10½) and Bobby (7), went to the pictures at the Forest Park picture house with Mr and Mrs Gracie, who lived up my close and were friends with my Mum and Dad. In those days we didn't say were going to see a film - it was “going to the pictures”.

Well, in we went to the cheap seats, 4d for adults and 2d for children, because it was during the week and we only went to the dear seats (6d and 4d) on a Saturday night. We got settled down and sat engrossed watching the pictures. It must have been about 8 p.m. when we heard four loud bangs. That did not upset us, because there were two out-facing double doors on Forest Park Road and boys used to kick on the doors with their boots. That was what it sounded like, but the lights went out and the film stopped and then someone started to scream. Mr. Gracie stood up on a seat, shouted for order and told everyone to line up against the walls, because he said if the walls fell down, they would not hurt us if we were leaning against the walls. A silence then came over everyone, and the cinema manager came on stage and spoke to everyone. The emergency generator came on, and we had lights again. He asked everyone if they wanted to see the rest of the show. Of course, we said we wanted to stay and see the rest of the picture, so we sat down again and the picture came back on.

We must have been watching for about another 15 minutes, when the usherette came down shining her torch on all the people. My Mum was looking for her bairns, so we had to go out with her. Also we had Nancy and Bobby, whom we took up to Rosefield Street and handed over to my Auntie Nan. They lived in number 7 Rosefield Street and one bomb had gone through number 9. When we came out of the pictures, that was when shock set in. Of course everything was in darkness, but the streets were littered with debris. Slates, stones, bricks, wood, chimneys, walls and glass covered the roads and pavements. There was not a clear space to put your feet down. Everything was covered with muck and all the shop windows were blown in.

We got home to Miss Kerr's house: she had a low door and when an air raid was on during the night, my Mum lifted the three of us and we slept, covered with blankets, on Miss Kerr's floor underneath her big table, until the “all clear” went. Next day, when we went off to school (I was at Logie School), we had to stand in our lines all morning in the playground, because all the classrooms were littered with glass. All the windows had been blown in because of the blast, and there was a huge hole in the roof where a huge piece of wall had gone through the big hall roof. We were finally sent home at 12 o'clock and told not to come back until further notice. It took months and months for the repairs to be done, as it was such a big job. So we lost almost a full year of schooling, because all the men were

away to the war and it was only the old men who could get on with the work. Also it was very difficult to get materials to complete the work needing done.

The havoc one string of bombs caused in Dundee that evening! Luckily, only one person was killed. We were very lucky that night, because a bomb fell on the electricity generator for Dundee, which was next door to the picture house. 20 yards nearer and it would have been on us, and there would have been a lot of deaths and injuries. God was looking over us that night.

Lily R. Fox. via Dundee Central Library

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