Great Yarmouth History

M. A. Jarvis

I was living with my mother and father at 141,Southtown Road and one of my brothers was on leave from the R.A.F. The whole evening of the 8th was one of air raids and we had tried to retire to get some sleep during a short lull. Later that evening my brother came home with the news that he had assisted to direct a fire engine around the back of Southtown Road (via Boundary Road and Queen Anne's Road) as a diversionary route, due to the main Road being blocked by a bomb craters between the Gasworks and Cromwell Rd, Southtown.

Soon after his return home anti-aircraft fire from mainly naval craft moored very close to us in the river caused us to go to the front door to observe! We are able to remember little because a stick of bombs came with increasing noise until the last one, which I am told one does not hear, was very close. The explosion and blast blew us from the front door to the bottom of the stairs of a long hallway. Picking ourselves up and realising what had happened, and, that we were uninjured we were naturally concerned that our parents sheltering under a large oak table in the sitting room, towards the rear of the house were safe. Our Parents emerged in their night clothes from under the table, covered in soot, the whites of their eyes standing out starkly, rather like Black & White minstrels of the times. I seem to recall that the sight caused me to laugh, partly I suppose when I realised that they too were both uninjured.

The stick of bombs demolished houses a few doors away but fortunately due to some evacuations earlier, no loss of life occurred. The demolished houses were rebuilt either late 1940s or early 1950's and can be seen today to be of post war style.

Our home though war damaged did require us to be rehoused on an emergency basis , but we did have to stay the next night, 9th April 1941. A further raid added to damage as a large stone block, thought to be from the Fishwharf paving being blasted across the River, near the then Salt Union Building roof and landing in the front main bedroom. It was said at the time that a small fire appliance was also blown into the river, but this is as far as I know not verified.

Upon evacuating our home, to be rehoused in Gorleston a few days later, I witnessed another daylight attack quite close whilst I was in the area of Ferry Boat Lane, near the Maltings and required me to take some hasty cover. The Dornier 215 I saw released its stick of bombs and to the best of my knowledge they fell on open land close to what is today known as Harfreys Estate.