Part 2 In 1943 the air war against German cities really took off with American daylight raids and British attacks at night. As a child of 13 it seemed to me that every single aeroplane the allies could put into the air flew directly over our house on
their way to Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, or Hanover to sow death and destruction amongst the poor sods that lived at the end destination.
This theory of mine was heavily disputed by my fellow school mates who strongly believed that every allied plane flew
directly over their houses and on reflection we may all have been right as the flight corridor of the numerous aircraft formations must have been kilometres wide.
The over flights started on good days at 9 or 10 in the morning with American B17 flying
fortresses, finishing at about 12 at which stage the first groups started to return and then followed the stragglers damaged by the defences desperately trying to get home. Then in the evening at dusk the night bombers started to come over with the same pattern
appearing. It was those stragglers in the afternoon and early morning that were the most terrifying. They would often just simply crash, or jettison their bombs, or be shot down by night fighters for which they were easy picking.
I was so traumatised
by this continuous ordeal that, one night when a bomb from one of those stragglers was dropped right beside our house, I was not even surprised or terrified. I think I must have been expecting it.
This huge explosion took the roof away and left me looking
at the stars. It also pushed the front door to the top of the stairs so that when I made my way down I stepped on the door which took me all the way to the passage at ground floor level, a scene Oliver Hardy would have been proud of. I remember my mother and
father who slept downstairs, asking me if I was alright and I being unable to know even where to begin. Naturally all this taking place in the pitch blackness of the night.
In the morning when dawn arrived, we finally were able to survey the broken
windows, the shattered roof tiles, and the displaced front door, and admire the huge hole in the ground that was left on the other side of the canal.
During the day and the following weeks we became the centre of the attention of neighbours and ghouls
which my father had difficulty keeping from wandering in through the now defunct front entry.
This and subsequent attacks by fighter aircraft on the nearby bridge and the ships that sailed on the canal, left me in a state of cold hatred for the invaders
of my country and for those who were trying to liberate us. It was only years later, long after the war, when I saw the senseless devastation to places like Hamburg, Hannover, and Dresden that I could feel compassion and sorrow for the German people who had
suffered this terrible ordeal