Bombing and evacuation

From: John Smith
Irby-In-The-Marsh

I was born in Marsden Road in 1936 and my earliest childhood memory is of hearing bombs screaming down from the sky in 1940. I was in our Anderson air-raid shelter with my mum and sister Pauline, in the garden of our house, in Tell Grove, close to Dulwich Hospital. I was 4 years old. The ground shook as the bombs landed. When the “All Clear” siren went we came out of the shelter and saw that the whole side of our house had been blown away. Our piano, on the top floor, was hanging over the edge. I remember my dad and uncle George trying to drag it back but it crashed to the ground.

The next thing I remember was Mum, Dad, sister Pauline and myself walking out of London along the A20 near Farningham, Kent. We had been walking all day and it was getting dark so we slept under the road bridge on the bank of the River Darent. Next morning when I woke up I saw cows drinking from the river. It was the first time I had seen cows and it all seemed so peaceful after all the bombing. I wished we could have stayed there forever but within a year we were back in London living at 2 Sternhall Lane, Peckham.