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The Blitz - 14th November 1940

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Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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436 of 440  Fri 16th Jul 2021 3:48am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2361

Great poster, Rob. You must have been 'Hot Stuff' sitting there needing the fan. Lol Lol Lol
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Helen F
Warrington
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437 of 440  Sat 17th Jul 2021 7:14pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2743

Great poster by the way. Thumbs up
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
PhiliPamInCoventry
Holbrooks
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438 of 440  Sun 25th Jul 2021 9:55am  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3658

Self promotional! That's an achievement. Please carry on & thank you.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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439 of 440  Tue 27th Jul 2021 9:30am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3425

Wikipedia on the Coventry blitz does not mention it was a Thursday - early closing. That saved many lives.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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440 of 440  Tue 27th Jul 2021 11:42am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3425

Coventry, 1pm Thursday November 14th 1940. Early closing. Sandbags everywhere, bitterly cold, the wind sends dry leaves gambolling down the cobblestoned church yard, down the steps of Priory Street. We kick them in the air, trample on them, then race for the tram, leap aboard. A boy cracks a smutty joke, we punch each other playfully as we scramble for window seats. Smokey voices of shop girls as they pass by the window, close for half-day. Dusk descending, no one carries gas masks anymore, no street lights. Machinery hums in the distance, a man singing, belts turning. Home, and the night closes in. About two hours later, sister’s reading a book on the corner of the sofa, mum’s feeding my little twelve month old brother. My two other brothers are squabbling on the floor, and dad rushes in. "Right, everyone to the shelter, now". The sirens wail, we know the drill. “Not you, Kaga, you come with me”. Mum begins to protest, but dad glances. “Kaga, take the bird”. The family rush down the garden to the shelter that dad had built like a WWI trench. I hid the bird in the washroom under the sink, covered him up. In the distance the planes begin to hum, we can hear them from three miles away, and then the big aa gun roars. Red streaks of light follow the shells into the sky, soot tumbles down the chimney, cups, plates, saucers bounce off the table, a photo with a glass surround falls to the floor, into a thousand pieces. The noise is bursting my eardrums. In the distance more big guns add to the noise, the ground shakes. I have my big coat and balacava on, race for my bike and follow dad. The moon is a big lantern. The planes are overhead, the noise deafening. Searchlights probe, red streaks. “Dad, is this it?” For weeks dad and his WWI friends had said the first two raids had been to assess our defences, count the guns, emplacements, searchlights, etc, but the Germans found out they had nothing to fear. A whistle noise, dad pushes me into the sandbagged wall, drops on top of me, and we hear the explosions, and shrapnel and debris peppers the street and the hut. The old canal stables that used to belong to the pub and canal have now become the firefighting hut, everyone signed the book for night duty. Someone shouts, "The Crown has gone". The man in charge sends dad and a couple of men to the scene, then the phone rings. “Kaga, go and get your dad, the cut’s busted”. I grab my bike, go for dad. It wasn't the pub that had gone,it was my aunt’s house, a direct hit. Dad, now in a quandary, but men shout “Let’s go, Arthur, there’s enough of us here”. We race back to the canal, the water was disappearing fast, tugging at the boats, mooring ropes breaking, men in the canal trying to save their wives and kids, the boats trying to go with the enormous pull of the water. My school friend was yelling for people to come and help, dad raced off to find the leak, and the noise was unbearable - wives screaming, men shouting, guns exploding, searchlights probing the sky, planes overhead. Help arrived, the boat people were saved and taken to safety, and I raced after dad. The crater was enormous, right bang in the towpath, the water rushing out like a giant waterfall. Men were trying to fill the gap. Dad shouted, "Don’t bother, we have the planks in, the water will stop in a little while”. Then he spotted the Coventry lock was open. He couldn't get past the waterfall, so shouted to close the lock, but the Skinner family had spotted it and was closing it. Here we heard and could see there was a fire raging in the cathedral and Owen Owen, flames and thick black smoke from the cathedral billowing hundreds of feet in the air. Now we had stopped to see the sky alight. People were crying, the whole city was alight. Another explosion and someone called out, “Grange Road!” Dad shouted for someone to get a plank to get him over the waterfall. He turned to me. “Go home, Kaga, get some sleep, but keep your mouth shut, don't tell mum about Grange Road, or about your aunt’s house. Morning will be soon enough”. The city was afire, smoke stung the eyes, the air was warm. There was no sleep, and they still kept coming. Not a memory. I have lost hundreds of memories, but ingrained in the deep of my soul. Kaga.
The Blitz - 14th November 1940

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