Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Blitz on Britain



On the 70th Anniversary of the start of the Blitz on London, my thoughts turn to my late Father who was a bus driver for London Transport during those awful years. He regaled me with stories of incendiary bombs bursting around him and his double-decker bus as he weaved his way around the Capital. On one occasion he told me that London Bridge was on fire, or at least the wooden sleepers that lined the carriageway in those days. He was caught halfway across and so just `put his foot down` to hammer through the flames. He chanced a glance behind him to see all the passengers doing their best to hide under the seats. He told me that it sounded like a rushing express train as he hit the wall of flames, which opened up and then slapped shut as his bus passed through the inferno. There were many more stories of `dodging around bomb craters and partially collapsed buildings and one occasion where a Heinkel 111 bomber, crippled by the RAF or Anti Aircraft gunners, flew smoking and low along the river, it's crew machine gunning one of his mates who died in the ensuing inferno. When his body was recovered they found a solid lump of coins that had melted in his pockets as he died in the blazing cab. Many more of his colleagues were killed during the Blitz. But London and the rest of the Country kept on going or, `buggering on` as Winston would have said. Dad joined the Home Guard. I think all that must have affected him because post war, and post the arrival of Hogday jnr., he always seemed to drive me around in the family car like he was still dodging craters and German bombs! Or perhaps all bus drivers were trained to drive that way?

So why is it that today, one road traffic accident on the M6 motorway on a Friday afternoon, stops the entire country from moving at more than 3 mph?

7 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

It was heroes like your father that kept the country going. We often forget the people who kept buggering on at home and concentrate on Churchill or the brave men and women on the front line. All the roles, glamorous or not, were vital. They were giants all.

Hmm, the Nazi bombs didn't stop the buses - I wonder if TFL might bear that in mind next time we have a millimetre of snow?

TonyF said...

My mum was bombed out of 11 schools, but somehow they managed to keep going. The shared buildings, one school in the morning, and another in the afternoon. And funnily, there was little absenteeism.

Oh, this was in Hull.

Stressed Out Cop said...

Keep Calm and Carry On

Doesn't that equal to live in the present moment and get on with it no matter what is thrown at you.

Rings true today as it did years ago

BE see you later - don't be late !! ha

Hogday said...

Blue: Very true. Its so easy to forget. PS: Will be in The White Lion Hotel (on the seafront in our fave town) Sun/Mon if you're up that way. PPS. Have found a pub near here that serves Adnams - quality comes to the frozen north at last.

TonyF: Another example of a lost heritage.

SOC: Same applies to you if you're up Suffolk way. BE knows where.

JuliaM said...

What BE said, with regard to the unsung workers who just kept their heads down at home and carried on. We seem to concentrate only on the politically-correct (Land Army, etc), never the ordinary worker...

As to the delay in reopening roads, well, 'elf 'n safety, innit?

Plus the perhaps-too-thorough investigation that seems to be done now into almost any crash...

Hogday said...

JuliaM: As an old school plod, I often wonder what happened to the simple RTA mnemonic of C O W ie Casualty, Obstruction, Witnesses? I suppose it now all all down to equalities and equities. I mean, one fatality in a car crash and you got a traffic PC as OiC. One fatality with a knife and there was a bloody squad formed with a D/I in charge. I guess they've just raised the common denominator. Perhaps the coming savage cuts will see some changes?

JuliaM said...

"Perhaps the coming savage cuts will see some changes?"

Perhaps.

Though I'd rather they fell on the people doing 'non-jobs'!