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U3A Writing: Fate, Or The Hand Of God?

Jeanne Lacey recalls the day the bomb dropped.

From 1938 - 1967 I lived in the South Eastern outskirts of London (Bomb Alley) but worked in central London from August 1939 to 1967; so I experienced the trials and tribulations of the Blitz and the following bombing by the V1 and V2 Rockets.

In July 1944 I was working in the City near the Bank of England. You might know that the big office buildings in London and no doubt elsewhere, have many light wells in them so that most offices have daylight. No.3 Bank Buildings was like that.

On this particular morning there had been an incident at Cannon Street station and as I was a First Aider I was down underground at our First Aid post helping the people who had been injured in the Cannon Street affair - only slight injuries since they were able to get into the office.

I was sitting on a table talking to a colleague when the Chief First Aider called me into another room - at the moment a V1 Rocket came down the well and exploded. I did not have time to be frightened but what followed was very weird. It was pitch dark and completely silent, then the lights came on. The place was full of swirling dust and people started crying out and getting to their feet. I had been blown over and a wall or part of one had fallen on me. I had the most spectacular bruises I have ever seen, one on my rear where I had fallen and on my upper arm where I had put it up over my face. My glasses were blown off and I found them unbroken in the rubble. I was one of the lucky ones. Seven were killed in the office and many badly injured.

After everyone had been treated and taken out or had left under their own steam it was quiet and I heard breathing. Under the wreckage of the table I had been sitting on was the colleague mentioned above. If I had not been called away seconds before the bomb fell, it could have been me.

He died shortly afterwards.

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