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A Hot Summer Night in 1940

by Pat Lelliott

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Archive List > The Blitz

Contributed by 
Pat Lelliott
People in story: 
Pat Lelliott
Location of story: 
London, England
Article ID: 
A2196551
Contributed on: 
12 January 2004

It was a hot Summer Friday night during the Blitz and all our Family were down in the Anderson Shelter at the Bottom of our Garden which was our usually sleeping arrangement. My Brother and myself slept on the top Bunk Head to Toe. Dad on the other top Bunk and Mum and Gran on the two lower Bunks. There was a lull in the Bombing and Dad got up and Climbed out of the Shelter to get some Fresh Air and noticed a Parachute coming down and called out to us.
“Cor someone has Baled out I hope they catch him”
With that we all hurried up out of the Shelter to watch the Parachute land which we knew would be quite near us and then we heard the Air-Raiders Whistles Blowing and thought that’s good they have caught him. The All Clear sounded soon after and we returned to the house and as dawn broke and we went about our normal routine. Gran was going to get on with the Washing in the Scullery and got the Tin Bath out to soak the clothes in and lit the old stone Copper for the Hot water while Mum got us kids ready to go down shopping with her to Ridley Road Market which was our Normal Saturday Morning Routine, while Dad went out on his rounds collecting National Savings as he was an Street Agent at that time it was a Voluntary Job to help people to Save.
As we got to the end of the Road on our way to the Market we saw a side Road Cordon off and the Police there. We asked what was going on and was told that a land mine had come down during the night and they were waiting for it to be dismantled and had evacuated everyone living in the immediate Area.
Mum said “ That was the Land Mine we saw coming down by Parachute last night not someone baling out. Come on kids let get on and do our Shopping”
So off we went down Ridley Road and got what we needed and on the way back went past the same Road where quite a group of people had gathered to see what was going on as a Black Cab had just come up and two Naval Officers got out to go down to dismantle the Land Mine.
“ Please let’s stay and watch Mum”
“All right just for a minute”
With that the Air-raid Warning went.
“Come on Kids we have got to hurry home”
With that we all started to run up the Road and Mum gave the Area Door Key to my Brother saying
“Go on you’ll get there before us and get the door open we’ll follow you”
Within 10 Minutes we had arrived home and on entering the hallway there was an almighty explosion and all the Windows were blown out. Gran was washing the clothes in the Tin Bath under the Scullery Window when all the glass broke and fell into the Bath luckily she wasn’t injured and we all were in one piece The explosion was the Land Mine that had gone off as they were dismantling it and the two Naval Officers were killed instantly. The Air-Raid Warning was because of a genuine Raid and if it hadn’t gone we would have been killed by the Land Mine too, so it was a narrow escape for us as it cleared the Area of those of us who had stopped to watch.
After the War when the Area was re-built and a Council Estate put up the Widow of one of the Naval Officers came and Officially Opened the Estate and the Estate was Named Kerridge Court after her husband.

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