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Bomb shook air-raid shelter as 'Big Bertha' fired in park; back in time.

Byline: JOHN DOCKER

READING Alan Roberts' letter about watching the Spitfires on Castle Bromwich brought back memories for me. The 605 (AUX) Squadron was based at Castle Bromwich, equipped with Hurricanes.

I lived in Blakeland Road, on the border of Perry Barr and Kingstanding. I often used to see them flying over our house in formation. What a sight!

We were high up so I could see all the fires after the bombs had dropped.

I could hear the Sergeant Major shouting the orders to fire 'Big Bertha' in Perry Barr Park.

As long as I live, I will never forget the night 'Moaning Mini' went off. I was only six and I looked up as we made our way to the shelter next door.

The sky was black with the bombers after dropping their loads on BSA. The drone of the engines, which sounded as though they missed a beat, still make me shudder when I think about them.

Two bombs were dropped nearby during the Blitz. One dropped in College Road, destroying two houses, sadly killing a night worker.

When the other one went off, the explosion was deafening. The shelter lifted and shook. My poor mother thought that our house had gone.

After the 'all clear', we were very glad to see our house still standing.

The bomb made a massive crater in Greenholm Road, at the junction with Ansty Road. It blew all the windows and roof tiles off two of the houses and burst a gas main as well.

I feel sorry for the people living in the thick of the bombing. It must have been sheer hell 68 years ago. Blimey, it only seems like yesterday.

JOHN DOCKER, Sutton Coldfield
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2008
Words:286
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