Page 9 - HGS Suburb News 143 - Summer 2020
P. 9

Suburb residents’ WW2 memories                                                               WW2 bombings in the Suburb

           ost people with gardens   now stands, to be given flat   I  was a teenager in         he threat of a
      M grew as many vegetables   shaped bottles of orange juice.  Finchley in 1940 and        Tsecond world war
      as they could manage and some   Such a novelty and so delicious!  remember my family     had been in the air
      kept chickens if they had space.          TALYA SINGER  huddling round the               for some time with
      Rationing was very well organised,                    coal fire and hearing              the rise of Hitler in
      so we knew exactly how much                           the continuous ack-                Nazi Germany, whose
      food we would receive. (My                            ack fire and the occasional boom   ambition was to conquer Europe
      mother didn’t have to scramble                        of a bomb. We all pretended we   and then finally occupy England.
      for food slots.) I believe fish was                   were not afraid, but actually we   The deciding factor came on 1st
      available off-ration, but I remember                  were terrified.           September 1939 when German
      having to rush to join a queue                           I had to sleep on a mattress   troops, without declaring war,
      for kippers. Big excitement!                          wedged between a wall and a   launched an invasion of Poland.
                   EUNICE KOSSOFF                           sofa so that the ceiling was   The  British Prime Minister,   Gladys Hunter’s bombed home on Brookland Rise.
                                                            unlikely to fall down on me. My   Neville Chamberlain, sent an   warm. Layers of newspaper between   a baby..… In Temple Fortune every
      My wartime bedtime prayers                            parents slept under the kitchen   ultimatum to Hitler to withdraw   blankets also helped keep you warm.  shop front from Sainsburys (opposite
      included: ‘God bless my soldier                       table protected by a metal shelter.  his troops or consider Germany   Hot drinks before bed were encouraged   Willifield Way) down to Lindons
      uncles, God bless my sailor                              I still have a piece of shrapnel   to be at war with Britain. No   and people were taught how to   (corner of Bridge Lane) is smashed.
      uncles, God bless my  airman                          about two inches long with a   reply was received, and on 3rd   make hay bottles to keep the drink   Cheerio! We’re still smiling
      uncles – and bring them all   Churchill on Ministry of Health balcony.  very jagged edge.  September 1939 war was declared.  warm. There was no toilet in the   but it’s a bit forced today!”
      safely home’.              On 8 May 1945, I was a 19-year-         MICKY WATKINS   There was a major fear that   air raid shelter. You were reminded   Tragically, Gladys and all
               JOAN LIPKIN-EDWARDS  old redundant RAF navigator                       many  civilians’  lives  would  be   to air your bedding every day.  her family were killed on the 1st
      My two Grandmothers and an Aunt,   trainee. I had a senior civil servant   VE Day brought great celebration   lost due to German bombing of   Cleanliness of your person and your   October 1940 when her house
      with me during wartime. Anderson   cousin, who invited me to the   to the streets of London and   British cities. So the ‘Steel Indoor   belongings was most important   received a direct hit (see above).
      shelter in background to the left behind   Ministry of Health in Whitehall,  across the UK for the government,  Table Shelter’ was commissioned   and helped more than anything to   During  the  war  30  people
      1st grandmother...
                                 where Churchill was due to speak   civilians and home guard. But                prevent disease.”          were killed in the Suburb as a
                                 to the crowds from a balcony.   for many troops the war would                      Air raids on British cities   result of bombing; 70 buildings
                                    After a long wait, Churchill   not end for months and it was                 began in September 1940. Gladys   were destroyed and 1,700 damaged.
                                 arrived with his retinue and passed   even longer until they reached            Hunter who lived in Brookland   The extent of the damage can
                                 me within a couple of metres.  Blighty again. While the war was                 Rise wrote letters to a friend in   be seen in the map drawn by
                                 Everybody clapped like mad. He   over in Europe, it continued in                Devon describing the impact of   Michael Holton which is now
                                 wore a dark suit and bow tie and   the Far East until September                 these raids:               in the HGS Heritage Virtual
                                 carried an unlit cigar. He looked   when the troops then had to                 26 September 1940          Museum (see below).
                                 short and rotund and had a   ensure the conditions of surrender                “The poor old Suburb suffered so   On the 8th May 1945 Germany
                                 lumbering, yet determined gait,  had been met (including my                     badly last night. I can’t realise yet   surrendered. In London, crowds
      This memory was passed on to   matching his expression. He   father Ron Gillard).                          myself the appalling damage. The   massed in Trafalgar Square and
      me by the previous owner of   stepped on to the balcony and I   Thousands who eventually                   raid lasted from 8.30 pm to 5.30 am.  all  the  way  up  the  Mall  to
      my house - No1 Erskine Hill -  could just see his back. Then he   returned were wounded, scarred              Two land mines were dropped   Buckingham Palace where King
      David  McCallum (actor  best   spoke: “God bless you all. This is   and  unable  to  talk  about  their    on the Suburb, one on Willifield   George VI and Queen Elizabeth,
      known for his 60’s role in the   your victory...” The rest of his   experiences. 20 million soldiers       Green and another in Coleridge Walk.  accompanied by their daughters
      Man From Uncle). He visited my   short speech was drowned by   died during the course of the war           About 300 flats and houses are very   and Prime Minister Winston
      house many years ago as part of a   microphone echo and general   all over the world and many   by the government in 1941,  badly damaged – too badly for   Churchill, appeared  on the
      Sunday Observer series on where   noise from the crowds.   millions of civilians including   known as the Morrison shelter   anyone to live in them. Two houses   balcony of the palace before the
      famous people used to live. He   This was a day I will never   over 7 million in the concentration   after  the  Home  Secretary  and   in Coleridge Walk were wiped out   cheering crowds. And here in
      remembered the doodlebug that   forget and I am proud to share it   camps of Nazi Germany.  Minister of Home Security, Herbert   and altogether and the rest are   the Suburb, a Thanksgiving Mass
      fell  in  Golders  Green  and  as  a   with you.                    SUSIE GREGSON  Morrison. It was designed so   almost all in ruins. The Emmoney   was held St Jude’s. The church
      result  caused  damage  in  the          DAVID LITTAUR                          that the space it took up was   family of six were killed, with six   was filled from end to end.
      Suburb. No 1 Erskine Hill was                                                   not wasted since it could serve   more including a young couple and   MARIE-CHRISTINE O’CALLAGHAN
      damaged and he pointed out   My school, King Alfred in North                    as both a table and shelter. The
      where the second floor had   End Road, had its premises                         sides were detachable and could
      sustained damage just adjacent   requisitioned for war to be used               be removed for table use. The
      to a window. He remembered the   by the army. The school moved                  floor was sprung to make a
      scary noise and said they had to   to a farm in Royston, Herts, for             more comfortable base for a
      leave the house for a short time.  the whole of the duration, as                mattress. It was to be placed only
                     SUSAN DOUEK  we called it. I vividly remember                    on the lowest floor of a house
                                 Mr Churchill’s speech, conveyed                      where it provided excellent cover
      When I was a small child in the   to us all by a battery operated               against falling debris. Over one
      late 40’s we used to go to what I   setup created by the older boys.            million were in use by 1945.
      recall as a prefab building in the   Happy days, sort of!                          But the most widely used
      Market Place, where Heathfielde             PAUL DAVIS                          home shelter was the Anderson
                                                                                      officially called ‘the sectional
                                                                                      steel shelter’. Two million were
                                                                                      issued to households. They were
                                                                                      the perfect shelter for the Suburb
                                                                                      as they needed a back garden
                                                                                      but it was cramped, chilly and
                                                            I was born in 1941, almost at   tended to flood after rain but it   Hall and Randall Plumbers
                                                            the  same  time  as  my  mother’s   was remarkably bomb proof.
                                                            younger brother died in Maut-  Suburb  resident,  Susie
                                                            hausen concentration camp. I   Gregson, still has an Anderson   Plumbing and Heating Services • Property Maintenance
                                                            grew up in Croydon. We had a   shelter in her back garden. She
                                                            dome-shaped brick shelter in   writes: “The shelter is half buried
                                                            the garden, where I have a   in the ground and made out of
                                                            memory of sitting on a bunk   steel reinforced concrete. It measures
                                                            with a blanket and a helmet.  6 foot square by 6 foot 6 inches
          We are your local funeral director                We had an Anderson (or was it   high. There used to be a heavy steel
                                                            Morrison?) shelter in the dining   door to close off the main room but
                 in Hampstead Garden Suburb                 room. The garden shelter became   is has long since rusted away. There
                                                            my father’s wine cellar covered   are two circular air vents  in  the
                    624 Finchley Road, NW11 7RR
                                                            by a rockery after the war and   main room. It might have slept five
                                                            had a special damp smell when   or six people in very cramped
                                                            you went down the steps.   conditions on bunk beds. Air raid   Central Heating, Plumbing Repairs & Advisory Service
                    020 8455 4992                                       MARJORIE HARRIS  shelters were used a great deal
                                                                                      during the Blitz between July 1940   Look no further... your local plumbers
                               My primary education took place   and August 41. And again in 1944   Emergency repairs, blocked pipes, drainage,
                                                            at Child’s Way School.  As  you   at the time of the V1 ‘doodlebug’   guttering, roofing, central heating and boilers.
                   €             entered the school grounds at   rockets, which inflicted considerable   12 months guarantee, 40 years experience
                                                            the top of Child’s Way, there   damage on the Suburb. Whenever
                                                            was rather a large air raid shelter,  the sirens sounded families would   132 Manor Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 1QX
                                                            grassed over, on which running   make their way with bedding,
           Camden Town  |  Golders Green  |  Gospel Oak  |  Hampstead  races were held. I remember,  candles and food to keep safe. The   Web:
                      Kentish Town  |  Muswell Hill         soon after 8 May 1945, standing   Hampstead News and Golders Green   Email:
                                                            on Cambridge Heath Road, at   Gazette of December 26 1940 had   Tel: 020 8953 2094 • Fax: 020 8905 1602
                                                            the  entrance  to Bethnal  Green   all kinds of useful suggestions
                                                            Underground station watching  ‘Comfort in your air raid shelter –   Evenings: Garry 020 8207 3286 • Greg 020 8953 9828
                                                            as  celebratory  processions  some simple hints for Health and
                                                            passed by. Frenetic flag waving   Ease’.  If  you  did  not  have  a  hot
                                                            and  dancing  was the  order of   water bottle you were urged to take
                                                            the day.                  a hot brick, wrapped in a blanket
                                                                   DAVID W CROSSLEY (DR.)  or  woollen  garments to keep you   11495
      SUBURB NEWS IS PRODUCED AND DELIVERED TO YOU BY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS                                                                             9
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