Barbara McNally Camberwell
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was born in July 1939 and was only weeks old at the outbreak   of WWII. My father was a
publican who had served from 1914 to 1918 in WWI and   was too old to serve again. We were
blasted out of our pub in Islington and   moved to The Freemasons Arms in Camberwell. My aunt
(fathers'   sister) lived in the upstairs flat and worked behind the bar. I remember my   mother
taking me to the window to show me the strange plane going by, she   didn't know what it was but
it made an unusual noise which suddenly stopped.   When the explosion came she threw herself
over me to protect me. My brother   was born 2.5 years after me and our parents considered us
too young to be   evacuated; "we either all survive or we go together"; Dad used to do fire
watching when the pub was closed for the night,   either from the front step or the roof. The night
the bomb dropped on us it   fell on the front door step but luckily we were all asleep. We did not
go the   the shelter in the street as we had a cellar in the   pub and beds were pushed together so
that all five   of us could sleep down there. The bomb blew out the side walls and the   building
collapsed onto us. Luckily one or some of the girders in the roof of   the cellar created a small
space above us to stop us all being killed. My dad   was the only casualty as the till from the bar
above fell on his head and he   was very bloody and unconscious. I remember by mum and aunty
both crying and   praying and shouting for help. I thought I would help by pushing all this   debris
that was in front of me out of the way. That nearly brought the house   down, literally. I don't
know how long we were down there but eventually the   emergency services heard our shouts and
we were pulled out more or less feet   first and put in the shelter in the street. I remember looking
out of the shelter   door as my dad was taken away in an ambulance. The road seemed to be very  
 bright and wet and busy with people running around and hoses and vehicles and   dust
everywhere. We were very lucky to have survived,  many were killed by that bomb. We went to
someone's   house for a cup of tea and the WVS found us some clothes to wear. The lady in   the
house was very surprised when mum combed all the dust out of her hair, she thought mum was an
elderly woman with grey hair.   We stayed for a while with relatives then mum, brother and I went
to Redruth in Cornwall to stay in another   pub with a publican friend who kindly found room   for
us away from the bombing. Â According to the records the flying bomb   dropped at 04.10 hrs on
25th June 1944 outside The   Freemasons Arms which stood on the corner of
Hillingdon Street
between Warham St and Farmers Road. 11 dead, 4 seriously   injured, 24 slightly injured. Many
houses demolished and between 200 and 300   needing repairs. This address was partly in
Lambeth and partly in Southwark   and these figures only refer to Lambeth and do not include
casualties or   damage in Southwark area. The whole area was demolished and is now The   
Brandon Estate. Incidentally Michael Caine came from Warham St I believe but he was   probably
evacuated by this time. Â Â Dad never had another pub but did the   'knowledge' to become a taxi
cab driver. He always said it was even harder at   this time because as he cycled around learning
the whereabouts of places they   disappeared after another nights bombing. As fast as he learnt
them Hitler   knocked them down.
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