Background

Bang!

Posted on 24 July 2012 | Narrative

A memory of World War II is shared by Jeff Kirkpatrick.

“I don’t remember Grandad working, although he was a waiter at the Station Hotel before I was born. Frieda, Dad’s sister, worked at Terry’s as a packer, and then when the war came she worked at Cooke, Troughton and Simms assembling gun sites.

Dad was ‘called up’ at the beginning of the war and served in the Green Howards. Just before the war, in 1937, my parents got married and they bought a house on Nunthorpe Estate, just behind the Winning Post pub. I was born in 1938 and dad went off to war. A lot of things happened quickly in those days. I think everyone believed that if they had plans, there was no time to waste.

At school leaving time, instead of going home, I would go to my grandparents in Scott Street, and Mum used to call for me on her way home from work. Children were very much left to fend for themselves in those days and I regularly played with friends near home before going to Grandma’s.

On this particular day there was no-one about to play with so I went straight to grandma’s. It was only a few minutes’ walk. At that time Grandad ‘lived’ in the front room, as he had had his leg amputated. Diabetes. It was one of my tasks to take his tea in for him.

The three of us were in the front room, and suddenly there was a loud noise which quickly became deafening. We were used to the sound of aircraft, especially bombers. But this was louder and closer. Looking out of the window we saw a bomber blotting out the sky, it was so low. It was on fire. Seconds later an enormous explosion. The house shook. The windows rattled.

The plane had crashed about a hundred yards from where I would have been playing, had my friends been around after school. The crew was killed and about four houses were flattened.

We had boiled eggs for tea.”