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My husband, Eric, remembers the morning the ATS girls were bombed on the front at Great Yarmouth. He and his brother were with the girls just two days before it happened. The boys had climbed the wall from the recreation ground after they heard the girls playing games in the back yard. The girls saw them and invited them to join in. Two days later the boys were standing on the sea front down the bottom of Salisbury Road after visiting some soldiers who were barracked in one of the hotels on the sea front. They had toast and a mug of tea with the soldiers and then they left to go to school and walked across the road standing looking out to sea, just to the left of the toilet block. Then they saw a strange looking cylinder coming towards them and realised it was a low flying plane. They could see the pilot just before he climbed over the top of them and the hotels. There was a gunner sitting on the corner of the old boating lake who didn't see the plane. Eric could see him standing there looking out to sea and he didn't see the low flying aircraft. They turned and ran across the road and ducked behind a fence. They saw the hotel where the girls were billeted, (didn't know this was their hotel till later), collapse across North Drive. At that moment two soldiers came out and grabbed us, raced us inside, threw us on the ground. One lay beside him and the other threw himself across his brother Ronnie, knocking the wind out of him. When all was quiet, they went outside to see a big pawl of dust blowing towards them over the top of the houses, in line with where they lived (Walpole Rd). They raced home along Salisbury Road and down the back passage of Walpole Road to see their mother standing at the back gate with her long black hair, and covered from head to toe in soot from the blast of another bomb explosion a few blocks away. They raced inside and the room was covered in soot as was the porridge on the table for the rest of the family. It took many days to clean up the mess. They didn't realise till later that the hotel they saw collapse was the one they were playing at with the ATS girls two days prior. That morning was only one of the incidents that he remembers during the war years in Great Yarmouth. The boys were attending the Grammar School on Salisbury Road which being used as a JuniorSchool at that time. Later they were transferred to the NorthDenesSchool.

By Doris Beckett
On 20/08/2012

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