34. The Plane Crash.

Our gang are on our way to St Anne’s Hill, and as we are near to the Old Coach Road, we are stopped by some soldiers. They said the Hill was out of bounds and turned us away. We couldn’t understand what was going on and they wouldn’t tell us. We thought it might be some sort of manoeuvres that the Army does up there now and again. We heard later that a British fighter plane had crashed in the woods and the pilot had been killed. 

We were not allowed anywhere near until the area was completely cleared. All that could be seen later, was a big white cross high up on a tree. It was said that the pilot managed to keep the plane from crashing into the houses along Chilsey Green, before ending up just below The Old Coach Road. This could be true, as the tail wheel was found in the top field below Monks Wood, probably torn off by the tall trees along St Anne’s Road.

I often liked to go up the Hill on my own, I used to imagine I was a hunter, and would move very quietly through the dense shrubbery of the woods. This was not to hunt an animal but just to see how close I could get without them knowing I was there. I always failed of course. 

It came as a bit of a shock when I came to an open space, a lot of trees had been cleared and the ground looked as if it had been swept. It was very spooky, and I ran down the hill into the fields in a panic. I later found out that it was where the fighter plane had crashed, no wonder I was spooked.

Once again it has all gone quiet, with the air raid siren only sounding as a false alarm, there are no bombers to be seen or heard, people are saying that it’s too quiet and Gerry is planning something big. But once again nothing happens.

Fred is very ill and has been taken to Milford Hospital, everything is going wrong again. Mum and Iris are the only ones earning any money, Bernard and his friend Tommy Hiscock have told the Army they were older than they were and are now stationed up in Yorkshire. Chrissy has done the same thing and is in The Land Army somewhere. Don has got a little job but only earns a few shillings. We are lucky to have our evacuee Mrs. O’Keefe, to pool our rations for our Sunday dinner.

I remember all these things very clearly, and I thought I knew where all the bombs fell in Chertsey, simply because the news would go round the town like lightning. But I have been told of at least two other bombed houses that I never knew about. One was dropped by the same bomber as the Pyrcroft Road bomb, it fell in the road next to us. It could be that as my mother took us to our gran’s the day after we were bombed, it would have been old news when we came home.

The other bomb I knew nothing about was in Fordwater Road, it could again have been while I was away. It was very dramatic; it certainly would have been a talking point anywhere in the town. I was told this story by my friend Alex; the bomb fell on a haystack in the field directly opposite his home. The man who owned the field would sleep with his animals, probably to prevent anyone stealing them. 

Alex saw his father helping the owner chase terrified horses around the field trying to put out their burning tails and manes. They had been set alight by the burning hay that had been blown all over the field. It must have been a terrible sight. I don’t know how many animals were saved. My friend’s bungalow had the roof lifted by the blast, apparently the roof, although only lifted an inch or two, never quite returned to normal.

Author: madeinchertsey

Born in 1932, this is a collection of stories of my childhood growing up in Chertsey, and some stories of my later life.

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