Sunday, August 17, 2008

James Marshall thinks that Feltham History Group’s work on local bombing records indicates that this incident happened on the night of 8- 9th December 1940.

I came to Bedfont from Ireland as a young child, with my parents. My mum’s sisters were already living here, in Bedfont Lane. My parents and my mum’s sister’s family ended up living next door to each other in the two ‘concrete houses’, just off Bedfont Lane. Their gardens backed onto the gravel pit that was eventually filled-in and is now Blenheim Park.

I remember that gravel pit being stocked with fish; I must have been about 5 years old then. I loved to fish. I would go down to the pit to fish before I went to school in the morning and again when I got home in the afternoon.

I think the ‘concrete houses’ were an experiment. They were made of reinforced concrete. It was quite unusual for a house to be built that way in those days.

We had Anderson (air-raid) shelters in the garden, about 20 feet from the back of the house. The pair of shelters were together. The water level in the gravel pit was 12–steps-down, so the shelters weren’t too wet inside.

I was an only son. My mother’s sister had nine children. Whenever the sirens went we would all dash out to the shelters. We were in an out of those shelters all the time during the Blitz.

The night that it happened I went to bed about 10 o’clock in the evening. No siren had sounded that evening and there was no siren in the night. But I heard the whistling noise that the bomb made as it was falling. And it landed right on the two shelters in our gardens at the back of the house! Well, the roof of our house was blown clean off!! And the house itself was lifted and shifted 10–inches off its foundations. But it didn’t collapse! A piece of our Anderson shelter was blown so high into the air that it fell down at Feltham Station – people went along to stare at it!

All over what was left of our house, the concrete was blown off the reinforcement of steel mesh and you could see through the walls in some places. I remember them carrying me out and seeing the huge hole, already full of water, where our shelters had been.

They thought that a lone enemy aircraft must have got-in, under the radar. Perhaps it was looking for the reflection of light on the water surface of Kempton Park Water Works Reservoirs; and it saw the Blenheim Park gravel pit instead.

Anyway, it’s a strange thing that we weren’t in our shelters the night of that air raid. And that’s how come I lived to tell you the story…..

We went to stay with my mum’s other sister, who also had a house in Bedfont Lane. Later on, we got another house in The Drive.

My aunt’s children were parcelled out amongst other relatives for a little while. Both those ‘concrete houses’ were written-off by that bomb!

I remember my mother’s nerves were never very strong after that. Hearing a siren would upset her…. And then you might have no warning at all – just as we had none, that night!

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