My first German Bomber.
I saw my first German bomber as I was coming out of The Curfew Snack Bar with my brother Don. At first we heard the sound of the engines—Don knew it was a Gerry plane by the sound the engines make. We started running as fast as we could to the air raid shelter in Barker Road, as I looked up I saw three bombers through the clouds, we stopped to watch them fly past. Don pushed me down on the road and we covered our heads as we had been told to do, we stayed like this for what seemed ages expecting bombs would explode around us but nothing happened.
Other people who had seen the planes were running past us to the shelter, then the air-raid siren started up, slowly at first and then very loud—there had been a number of false warnings and practice air-raid drill. But I think this was the first time that the people in Chertsey had actually seen German bombers and now knew what an air-raid would really be like.
We were told by some workmen that the planes had passed over and that we should go to the shelter until the all clear sounded.
This was not the first time we had heard a German plane, they would fly over at night after bombing London and would jettison any bombs left over on a railway or main roads. We had three fall in the nearby Lyne fields on the other side of the railway, even so it was too close for comfort. The next day kids from all over Chertsey would swarm over the craters looking for shrapnel—this was to become a new hobby!
The news of the bombers flying so low soon went all around the town, everyone had a different story of how many planes they saw. It would be the only time that enemy planes would be seen over Chertsey during the day, although the searchlights would show them up at night.
Amazingly, seventy years later, I was telling my friend Wendy, all about that day, she listened and then said she remembered it as well.
She told me how they had heard the planes and then the siren, her father ran down the road ahead of her mother and sister, shouting for everyone to get into the shelter, her mother who was carrying a small baby fell over, but Wendy said he was too far away to help her up.
I didn’t say, but it crossed my mind to ask, why was he so far ahead and not helping his wife and children?
The Vickers Aircraft Factory, in Weybridge, was not so lucky, a daylight raid by a flight of bombers caused a lot of damage and killed over eighty workers, most were having their dinner in the canteen which had a direct hit.
There were rumours of some men using car headlights the night before to show the Germans where the barrage balloons were anchored so that the bombers could avoid them the next day, but some say they never had balloons at all—rumours like this were always going around.
Amazingly the production of Wellington Bombers was only stopped for a few days,
The London blitz was now in the news every night, the war had really started, the evacuees who had all gone back to London earlier because it was so quiet, started to come back.
The bombs were falling all over England, because the Germans seemed to have so many airplanes they could target the factories in the north and midlands as well as London.