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The Night Our House Was Bombed

by chirpymaggie

Contributed by 
chirpymaggie
People in story: 
Doolin Family, Mr Minter
Location of story: 
Dover
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2872596
Contributed on: 
28 July 2004

This story was told to Chirpymaggie by Joyce Howell (nee Doolin)

In the early hours of May 22nd 1943 our home was demolished in a bombing raid, along with six others. Mum, dad and myself (15years) and my brother Les, 10 years and Mike 20 months, were buried in the rubble.
Mum and dad were in the front bedroom and managed to free themselves to try to get to us. We were in the back of the house.

Mum had started to springclean my bedroom and had moved my bed into the boy's room. It was extremely lucky because my room was gone completely.

Les and Mike were still on top of what was left of their bed but were still buried under the debris. They were rescued fairly quickly but I had been thrown off my bed and partly under theirs, so I took a bit longer to reach.

When the rescue team had located me and uncovered my head, I watched searchlights fix on a plane and the ack ack fire bursting all around it.

Mr Minter, a war reserve policeman, put his back under a beam that was trapping me to save more collapse while they tried to free me.

Somehow I had got partly wrapped in a blanked with was pinned down by the rubble. I remember them cutting me out of it to get at me. I was buried for 2 hours with Mr Minter taking the weight off me all that time. He was taken to hospital afterwards.

We were taken to the Snargate Street Salvation Army Headquarters and put to bed in all our dirt. Next morning we were kitted out with clothes from Canadian Red Cross parcels.

My hair was full of brick dust and morar and I was told not to wash it but keep brushing it till it was all out or it would set like cement. I seem to remember it took more than a week.

Apart from slight injury to my fingers, we had all come out unscathed. Three of our neighbours, mother, father and daughter were killed next door and another daughter was blinded and badly injured. One other lady was killed.

My dad was awarded £209.14s.6d (£209.72.5pence) for the loss of our home. I received 17s.6d (87.5pence) a week, for about three weeks, for my damaged fingers.

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Family Life Category
Air Raid Precautions Category
Central and Fife Category
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