Wednesday, April 15

When we were bombed


Can you see the depression? the regular rectangular depression on the green? this is the green in front of our house. And this depression shows that there was an air raid shelter during World War 2 times here. Why you ask its needed? well, London was pretty much heavily bombed during the blitz.


So got this amazing graphic from this site.


This is Harrow…pretty hairy, eh? you can make out the patterns of the the German bombers would drop their bombs in a stick, so they will form a line pattern. Fascinating, eh?


And further zooming in, saw that a bomb had fallen just outside the green, on the house behind the house I can see in front of my house. A high explosive bomb fell here sometime between Oct 7 1940 and June 6 1941, no more precise dating. But I found out from this link that the first bombs in the war actually fell in Harrow.

Records have always shown that at 0330hrs on the morning of August 22nd 1940, the first bombs to be dropped on London were at Harrow…..I do recall seeing an item in the past that the Luftwaffe used a guiding point in Harrow which was a sewerage works ( large round cleaning pond) next to the large Kodak works.

Did you know, we also were hit by a V2 Rocket? This hit less than 300 meters from my home and just behind Diya and Kannu’s School.

Harrow Cemetery

Information from Malcolm Hutton:
The V2 rocket map doesn’t show the location of the V2 which fell in North Harrow. It came down next to the cemetery gates. We were living about a mile away and I well remember sitting in our dining room with my mother and father. (at Durley Avenue). It was very eerie at first. Our heavy velvet curtains suddenly billowed out and rose to the ceiling and then came the explosion followed by a fading sound of the rocket. It cracked one of our windows, but that was the only damage we suffered.
Corroborated here:


So how was it to live through a bombing in Harrow? We have this story.

The raids started. The siren wailing up and down made my tummy turn over. Nearby we had Northolt Aerodrome, so the noise of planes taking off became commonplace. We used to count them going out, and count them returning, always hoping it would be the same number…. We had an Anderson shelter in the garden. The lady next door with small children had a Morrison shelter indoors, which was like a big reinforced rabbit hutch. They used the top as a table. Every night after I was in my pyjamas I would be sent down the garden to the shelter, and when no-one was looking, I would get up and go down the back alley to play with my friends. Raids were frequent at this time. Every day the children would go out looking for shrapnel, and the competition was quite keen to find the biggest bit..
My father was working in London on something that he was not allowed to discuss with us. We later found out it was to do with the construction of the amphibious craft used in the invasion. As he was a well-qualified St. John first aider, he was also required to help with rescue work. He was always so tired.
While on his rescue duties, he would sometimes find an unexploded shell, or incendiary bomb, which had to be thrown in the water tanks on the streets. I have an unexploded shell, which he made into a table lighter, having made it safe!
I remember the bomb disposal crews on their lorry having completed a job. Sometimes they would actually sit on the land mine or bomb that they had disarmed. They always received a cheer. - Just, as aircrew would not be charged for admission into our local cinema. Everyone felt they had done more than enough for us. During daytime raids we could often watch the dogfights above us as our planes intercepted the Germans. We could always tell the difference between our aircraft and the German’s even at night. Our planes had a steady hum and the German planes made a pulsating noise.
Our house remained intact, but a nearby house had a landmine suspended inside it. The parachute had caught on the roof, and it was hanging suspended a couple of inches off the floor! We had to evacuate our house while the brave disposal team came and made it safe. They drove off with it on the back of the lorry. I was told the German bombers would take Harrow-on-the Hill church as a landmark
And drop a stick of bombs, hoping to hit Northolt Aerodrome. This meant they passed close to us.

The raids became intense. Our Anderson shelter had flooded, and we had to go to the nearest communal shelter. During the day if the siren sounded on our way to school, we were told to run home if we were nearest to home, or carry on to school if that was the nearest. We had a large underground shelter built on the playing fields at school, and we spent a lot of time sitting on the hard benches around the walls. At home we had decided we were tired of running to air raid shelters at night, so we decided that if the bomb had our name on it, we would get it! We stayed in our own beds.

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