London at War, Part 9
Our Blog for December is mainly underground but, before that , I have learned from the web that around 470 bombs were dropped on Hammersmith & Fulham. It was quite a common sight to see homes with bomb damage exposing rooms with bits of furniture or pictures still hanging (at strange angles) on shattered walls.
Now let me share two clear memories. 1) I left school early in 1939 to work in a very small factory making precision model railways. The factory was situated close to Covent Garden Station on the Piccadilly line. I walked with my Dad from Lysia Street to Hammersmith Station to catch a train by 7.30am to get a “workman's ticket” which was heavily discounted from the full price. During the months of the Nazi blitz dozens of Londoners found shelter on the platform at stations far below ground level. This may seem a good idea to you, but it gave genuine passengers quite a tricky manoeuvre to step over bodies, bags, cases or who knows what! It all gives a whole new meaning to “railway sleepers”!
2) Before war was declared the Fulham Council informed residents of their intention to make a large underground air-raid shelter in the field of Fulham Recreation Ground, the gates of which are directly opposite the street where I lived at number 3 – the second house down. As a young boy I had spent many hours i
n “the rec” playing football, cricket, on the swings etc. With war approaching I responded to a call for volunteers to go and help fill sand-bags one Saturday, believing the bags would give added protection against shrapnel from a bomb – or even from our own anti-aircraft guns. Of course I didn't know then that later in the war I would become a member of the real “dad's army”, (the Home Guard), being taught how to operate those guns in Battersea Park defending the huge power station there. Eventually the communal shelter was finished and ready for use. Sadly, a Nazi bomb dropped right in the entrance of the shelter, killing several residents who thought they were safe. How sad that many of the folk we talk to imagine that when they die everything will be alright - when they were young they used to go to church! O how they need to know Jesus! I am reminded of the verse of a chorus in Sunday School “telling others, telling others, my life's work is telling others”.........O Lord give us greater boldness to do just that ! How our Nation needs a spiritual revival!