The night a German bomb fell in my back garden in Hainault

Derek Hall (second from the left) with his brother and parents by the crater in his back garden in H

Derek Hall (second from the left) with his brother and parents by the crater in his back garden in Hainault in 1941. Photo: Derek Hall. - Credit: Archant

Lifelong Hainault resident Derek Hall continues his account of what life was like as a young boy in east London during the Blitz.

Within two months of being brought home after being evacuated, the ultimate happened.

During the night a 500lb German bomb landed in our back garden and buried itself underground.

We were very fortune, as my brother and I slept in the back bedroom and would certainly have been killed.

We had to evacuate the house and the army bomb disposal came in to make it safe.


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A photograph was taken of my parents, my brother and I all standing around a very large crater that had been dug out to get the bomb away.

We were then rehoused into Penrith Road, Hainault with a lovely park with swings and a roundabout and

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When we arrived we discovered that five families with eight children, all our relations, had moved into the road after being bombed out of London.

So I had lots of cousins to play with and plenty of birthday parties through the year.

The year was 1941, and although we were further away from London the bombs still fell around us, with 680 bombs and 70 V1 and V2 rockets landing on Ilford.

Many people were killed and across London the death toll reached 40,000.

The government provided every home with an Anderson shelter that was made from a hole being dug in the ground approximately ten feet long and six feet wide which was then covered over with metal panels that were covered with earth and a small entrance was made.

They were bomb-proofed with sandbags on top and around it.

Whenever the air raid warnings sounded from Hainault station they made a horrendous sound to warn people to get underground.

After a few months these shelters got very smelly, cold and damp, and many times when the sirens went off of a night we would have to get out of bed, put two pairs of socks on, two wooly jumpers on over our pyjamas and a balaclava on hoping they might help to keep us warm.

It never did.

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