French version here.
German version here

Rosa's story

London under the bombs

I live now, in 1995, where I've lived all my life. It's around the Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, in West London.

As a young schoolgirl I can remember walking home with my friend Ruby to find that Askew Road (where Ruby lived) was roped off by the Air Raid Wardens because there was an unexploded bomb in one of the gardens. She came on home with me and there was her Mum having a cup of tea at my house still a bit shocked and covered with earth because the bomb had fallen into the garden just a few feet from her and showered her with lumps of dirt!

Ruby and I were dead keen to see a bomb, so we rushed off and ducked under the barrier (nobody spotted us or tried to stop us) and went and had a good look at it. I can remember being amazed at the size of it, and it had fins sticking up just like in the pictures.

Looking back I suppose I should have been scared, but it's a fact that you can't live your life with your knees knocking all the time and in the end you just get on with it.

One time I felt really upset was when I was at the cinema and there was an air raid (they put a slide up to tell you in case you wanted to go to a shelter, but hardly anybody ever did... if the bombing got close the roof-spotters would come down and tell you and then you might go out).

Anyway, when we got out after the film everyone was standing looking at the red sky over the London Docks - about 8 or 10 miles away from us, but burning burning like I'd never seen before, so that the whole sky was lit up. It shook my Mum a bit seeing that, and it made me thank my lucky stars I didn't live in the East End.

Rosa Newby
22nd October, 1995

Stories Map Food ELDERS