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Respect air raid’s victims
I was pleased that York remembered the 70th anniversary of the Baedeker Raid. It was, I believe, the only raid on York, yet 72 people died and many more were injured. The remembrance service was a fitting tribute.
So, how does City of York Council play its part? It organises a tea dance with a prize for the best-dressed man and woman (The Press, April 30).
I am only in my mid-50s, and yet the civilian sacrifice made during the Second World War was made very clear to and has stayed with me.
Are the councillors and officers aware of some of the harrowing experiences of people involved (the bomb on the Bar Convent is an example)? Why did the council think a tea dance was appropriate?
May I suggest that York’s casualties from this war are treated with more respect in future?
Neil Raw, Oriel Grove, Clifton Without, York.
• MUCH emphasis has been directed at the carnage caused during the York Blitz of 1942.
However, from the very onset of the Second World War, living conditions were sparse by today’s standards, with many commodities we now take for granted unavailable.
Apart from the fear of being bombed out of house and home, the crime rate was comparatively low considering the privations suffered by the civilian population.
The present austerity measures during the recession, including financial constraints, pale into insignificance with having to live in a hand-to-mouth existence.
For example, breakfast consisted of bread with watered milk, the occasional treat of fried bread and dripping before school and porridge, providing one had not used up your ration book coupons.
A constant supply of Lancashire hotpot supplemented by home-grown produce, when obesity had not been invented, kept the wolf from the door.
Most medical problems associated in some cases with today were prevented with the daily dose of concentrated orange juice and cod liver oil tablets to provide extra nutrition; survival was the order of the day.
Kenneth Bowker, Vesper Walk, Huntington, York.
• I WONDER if you could help me. I have been reading with interest people’s memories of the bombing raid on York in 1942, but I wonder if readers could cast their minds back to January 16, 1941, when 32 Brownlow Street was hit by a lone bomber. This was a corner shop with living quarters, owned by my grandparents, Harold and Amy Bond, and the back of the property was destroyed.
Harold died of wounds he received during the bombing. I wonder if readers have any memories of the event.
Gillian Hall, Oakland Avenue, Heworth, York.
• CHARLES Whiting, in his excellent account of the York raid in Three Star Blitz, mentions 14-year-old Peter Lawson had the job of waking Deaf Mary.
Charlie and I were boyhood friends and I told him this story after the war. Using author’s privilege, he changed it somewhat. Although Deaf Mary was born stone deaf she was known in the Groves as Dumb Mary; not hearing people speak, she had never learned to talk.
Her house was at the end of the Richardsons’ garden and she slept with a cord tied to her wrist hanging out of her bedroom window so she could be wakened.
It was not my job to wake her but Mr Richardson’s, who had offered the use of his Anderson shelter in Penley’s Grove Street to Mary, my family and others.
In previous raids, Mary was always very frightened.
The big raid had been in progress for about an hour when someone realised we had forgotten Mary. Mr Richardson suggested we leave her sleeping.
There was no question of him being scared: with another of our friends, Harold Mills, he dealt with an incendiary bomb.
But I do not want to go down in history as the boy who was too afraid to go down the garden in an air raid.
Peter Lawson, Main Street, Riccall, York.
• MY father, Edward Allison, was an engine driver. On the night of the bombing, he was bringing The Aberdonian up to York on the main line from Grantham.
It would then be taken over by a Newcastle driver to take it on to Newcastle.
He was stopped at Selby and told he could not get into York Station.
Eventually it was decided to take the train through Rowntree’s sidings and out on to the main line above York Station, where the Newcastle driver took over.
We were worried because he should have been home much earlier. He had great difficulty persuading the recovery team at the convent to let him go down Nunnery Lane; we lived down there in Dove Street.
G Cutts, Tranby Avenue, York.
• I HAVE been very interested in the memories of the bombing of York.
My memory is that it ruined my career. I had just started a job in hairdressing at Pierre’s in Leopard Arcade in Coney Street. It was a shock and disappointment for me when it was bombed and the salon moved to Dringhouses.
I had to travel in from Bishop Wilton and Dringhouses was too difficult for me to get to. I was 14 years old and I had always wanted to be a hairdresser, but that was the end of my dream job.