Tonight, we have been taken to the pictures, the newsreel is all about the blitz in London. How anyone can sleep at night with all that bombing, I will never be able to understand. We are lucky, in our kitchen we have our own air raid shelter, it’s a steel table called a Morrison Shelter, most of the family would sleep under this. I have made a bed under the pine dresser because our new baby cry’s all night.
It is strange to think that a little baby is able keep me awake, but tonight, I didn’t hear a high explosive bomb falling on the other side of our road. The explosion woke me and deafened me in the same instant, so I have no memory of the enormous noise it must have made, all I can hear is a loud ringing like that of a big bell in my head.
I open my eyes thinking I am in the middle of a nightmare, but this is real, it’s really happening. All I can see, from my bed under the dresser, is our kitchen lit up by a bright light coming from the front window. Something heavy falls on the old Army coat that I use as a blanket, it is hard and really hurts my legs. I see the ceiling of our kitchen sagging and then it comes crashing down on the shelter where the others are sleeping.
A whirlwind is blowing through the room, the blackout curtains are flapping in shreds with bits of glass hanging by the white tape that we children had stuck on the windowpanes last year. Part of the front wall has fallen in with house bricks lying everywhere—some are heaped on my legs, I can hardly move, I feel my face being peppered with the swirling dust, I am choking, my mouth and nose are full of grit, and now the dust is so thick I can’t see anything.
As suddenly as it started, everything stops, just the swirling dust. I feel someone tugging at my coat, I am being pulled out roughly from my makeshift bed, my ears are ringing like a bell, I can’t hear anything they are saying. I am bundled out into the fresh air, I can feel sharp bits of glass in my hair. I see all my family in the back garden, their faces are lit up by the burning buildings. I can taste the blood and dust as it runs into my mouth.
Someone is carefully picking bits of glass out of my hair, and the tiny bits stuck in my face. My legs are really hurting, I feel as if I am falling into a hole, I can’t see very well and everything is swirling and going black, all I can see is Mrs Salmon standing at her gate, she is being slowly swallowed by dark clouds around her.