John lived in South Norwood.
This is his story from the first
bombing raid on Croydon Aerodrome.
It is read by an actor.
"Our shelter was incomplete in August 1940
and on the 15th,
my friend Tony Moss had come to tea.
We were playing in the front room
with a large tin plate model bus
when the sound of some
approaching aircraft was heard.
I said to Tony that I was going to look at
them but he said he would not bother.
As I tried the handle of the door
my mother was turning it in the opposite
"Quick John, they're Germans!"
she said. No alert had sounded.
We rushed into the back room,
and down the ladder into the shelter,
as we heard explosions in the distance.
As there was as yet nowhere to sit in
the shelter, we removed the
metal sheet and went
along the escape passage to the Fosketts
at number 306 and waited
until the attack on Croydon airport was
Tony lived in Wharncliffe Gardens,
further up South Norwood Hill.
Dad was in a reserved occupation
and had limited use of a car.
So took Tony home and then
went on with my mother and I to
Beulah Spa where we had a
grandstand view down the spa hill
of the airport and the resultant smoke
arising from the bombing.
Which it later transpired had claimed the
lives of 62 people, 37 of them
injured seriously and 137 less so.
180 people were made homeless.
This was the first bad air raid
of the war on the London area.
From the back of our house we looked
across to the North Downs. Biggin Hill,
and Kenley airfields were about
7 miles away to the south
and Croydon was about 4 miles to the
Over the next few months, the
bright blue sky was streaked with
vapour trails. The silvery specks of
aircrafts glistened in the sun.
And puffs of smoke from gun fire
appeared as the
Battle of Britain raged overhead.
In between the aerial dogfights and
air raids, we school boys eagerly
hunted for shrapnel and cartridge cases."