WW2 memories of David Crossley

After being initially educated in “Miss Lang’s” nursery in Bridge Lane, my primary education continued at Child’s Way School - “Per Ardua Ad Astra”, but I did not, necessarily, follow the maxim of working hard! Certanly not like my mother who also sent to the school in about 1919 and whose name was the last one on the girls honour board and went on to the Grey Coat Hospital School in Westminster, thence to St Martins School of Art.

If I remember correctly, as one entered the school grounds at the top of Child’s Way, there was rather a large air raid shelter on the left hand side, grassed over, on which running races were held and organised by the then headmaster, Mr. Alban, Polly Clark and Mr Giles.

The war had ceased, but only just, by the time I went to the school, but I do remember, sometime after 8th May 1945, standing on Cambridge Heath Road, at the entrance to Bethnal Green Underground station watching as a celebratory processions of bands, soldiers, sailors and airmen, tanks, ambulances etc., passed by. Frenetic flag waving and dancing was the order of the day, and all was over in fifteen minutes! I also remember that my grandfather’s factory took a direct hit from the penultimate flying bomb which razed it to the ground.  Fortunately no-one was injured.

On the 3rd March 1943, the tube station was being used as an air-raid shelter but sadly, because of the crowd and narrow entrances, an air-raid siren caused a rush for the safety of the underground haven and, in the ensuing turmoil, 173 people, including 62 children, were killed.

I have no diary of events – merely memories - during the war years but we had the opportunity of either staying at home in London or, when the bombing seemed to exacerbate, travelling up to Manchester and sometimes even going the extra thirty seven miles to St Annes where we stayed with family.

Probably the highlight of my years in the Garden Suburb Junior School was being taught by Miss Bennett how to grow mustard and cress seeds on blotting paper in empty egg shells which were subsequently hung on the Crittall window-stays to catch the sun. Those were peaceful and care-free days!

Document, WW2-6-10
WW2 memories of David Crossley
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