Boys attending the World War II History Art Club enjoyed an extra special session on Thursday when Mrs Bundock (Mrs Lumley-Wood’s mum) popped in to talk to them about her memories as a young girl of the Blitz in London and, in particular, building an Anderson Shelter in her parents’ garden.
The boys who are constructing their own model Anderson Shelters were fascinated to find out how they were originally built. The basic shelter required a big hole in the ground, and once the shelter was in place all the soil that had been excavated would be added to the sides and top of the shelter for extra strength. It also made a perfect vegetable bed, which was handy as vegetables were in short supply in cities at the time.
Talking about the air raids, Mrs Bundock recalled frequently hearing the sirens (a sound that still makes her shiver) at around tea time, so her family ended up eating many a tea in their shelter before sleeping there overnight. Mrs Bundock also recounted the scary events of the evening when an aerial landmine fell just a few streets away. The blast destroyed many homes and damaged her house so badly that she and her family were evacuated to the countryside. She recalled that the air pressure of the blast made it feel as though the shelter had been lifted up and dropped back down. Remarkably it kept the family safe and survived undamaged.
The boys asked a wide range of thoughtful and insightful questions about the Blitz, including ‘how did spotters spot the enemy planes approaching at night?’, ‘where did families who didn’t have gardens go to shelter from the bombing’, and ‘was it true that many directional signs were moved just in case Germany invaded?’. Mrs Bundock helped to bring the era to life and brought smiles to the boys faces with her entertaining answers. Speaking after the session, Fraser told us “It was amazing!”