Frank Ferri remembers VE Day

Frank Ferri remembers VE Day

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'I was lifted out of my chair and thrown about 15 feet' 

I remember as a child sitting by the fireside reading my comic. I’d heard my father and neighbours talking about the different noises aircraft make, you became hyper sensitive to these things, and so you could identify when an aircraft was going overhead whether it was friend or foe. And if it was foe invariably the sirens went off. I remember that night saying “That sounds like a German, dad”, I'd hardly got it out my mouth when BANG! I was lifted out my chair and thrown about 15 feet, blown out to the lobby. All the plaster was coming down from the ceilings, the window had come in, there was furniture all over the place, broken glass and crockery and lord knows what. My brother was less than a year old, my dad grabbed the two of us and we made our way in the darkness, counting the steps, there were nine steps to each landing. The search lights from our defence areas lighting up the sky and trying to spot enemy fighters. We tried to get into one of the brick shelters but they were full up so we had to make our way across this quadrangle and into a wasteland area at Ballantyne Place, the colloquial name was the piggery. The shelter was eight feet under and stank of Lysol, carbolic soap, urine and dampness.’

 

'You had people coming down to see the damage . . . '

‘It was funny and sad - you got a couple of days off school because of the bombing but you had people coming down to see the damage and making you feel awfy sorry for yourself. We had yellow waxcloth, the kind you make fishermens’ jackets from, we had that on our windows for a long time. I remember on a Saturday morning before I got up, this was before any repairs were done, a piece of plaster falling and I ran out in sheer panic, just to get out the house. The bombing stressed me out for a long time. It did affect you. That was 1941 and the war was to go on for four years.’