I was about eight when the plane crashed next door but one to me – I lived at number 20. My mum had taken me to Southend by bus that Easter Saturday morning. When we arrived back and got off at Cemetery Corner, we wondered what had happened as we walked on to the estate. Then people we knew rushed up to us and said “Thank God, you are safe, we didn’t know where you were”. At first they would not let us into our road. We were very scared and worried about the rest of our family – Rhoda my Nan, Esther my auntie and Paul my younger brother plus my Rabbit and the cat.
All were unharmed and safe, thanks to the air-raid shelter in the back garden which blocked a huge chunk of clay almost the size of the shelter, from hitting them and the kitchen and bedroom windows. They had all been in the garden digging the vegetable plot. The rabbit’s cage was on the south side of the shelter, and the tom cat was probably snoozing after being out all night.
Nan heard it first, then saw it heading straight for them. They all ran towards the house but knew they wouldn’t make it. As they got alongside the shelter she pounced onto auntie who was on top of poor little Paul, and all the tons of clay which flew out of the crater passed straight over them, not one piece hit them. Now that is a true miracle.
The Air Force moved into the army camp at the bottom of the estate whilst the clear-up went on. No.16 was cordoned off, but I and all the other kids would sneak, via my garden, into the massive crater the size of the whole garden, and collect bits of metal – it was so exciting.
For another account of the Meteor crash please click this link.
To see more photos please click here