Barbara McNally Camberwell
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I 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.