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World War 2

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From: Jane Bond
3 June 2012
Boys School Bombing, Petworth, 1942

I was at a private girls' school (I think that it was called North End House) close to where the bomb fell that day on Michaelmas 1942. We heard the crash as the bomb came down and saw the smoke and dust coming into our small class-room. We were all taken down to the main hall where my memory is of our mid-morning milk being covered with dust. We had to stay there until the area was cleared and we could safely be moved out. At the time the dead and injured from the boys' school were being recovered but of course we knew nothing of that.
The whole town had come to a standstill.
I had been evacuated to Stopham Rectory where my god-mother was living with her in-laws. Her son, Richard Macnutt, and I finally arrived back at the Rectory from our school that evening in a very shaken state. We then had several weeks off school whilst repairs were carried out.
I have always wondered about that day, of those families that were affected by the tragedy, and of the fathers away at the War who had thought their boys were relatively safe from the effects of the Blitz.
I am fascinated to read your report. Richard's father, Derry Macnutt, was working at Lloyds in London, and when he arrived back at Pulborough Station that evening the porter, who knew that his little boy was at school in Petworth, told him what had happened. He then had to cycle (no petrol for private cars) back to Stopham to find out whether we were still alive.
The evening papers just carried mention of a bomb somewhere in the Home Counties which had damaged a school, but of course the location was never mentioned, as was customary during the War, so that information on the location would not be available for the enemy.

Dr Jane V. Bond

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