Brian Morris remembers the bombing of the station in the Second World War
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 2nd November 2012 by Liam Physick
Brian Morris talks about how Edge Hill station was frequently targeted by German bombers in the Second World War. One famous incident was when a man unhooked an ammunition wagon in Deane Road and drove it away, at great personal risk, to prevent it from going off and blowing up the station: he received a medal for his efforts. He also mentions the infamous bombing of Durning Road, and how at school then it was seen as routine to know someone who had lost a family member in the Blitz - there would just be a two minute’s silence for the previous night’s victims, and then everybody would carry on as normal. Finally, Brian refers to a girl who lived off Picton Road and lost both legs in one bombing and was presumed dead and put in a hearse, but survived and had four children. For her bravery, she received a medal from Wendell Wilkie, whom Brian erroneously describes as the Vice President of the United States: in fact, he was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for President in the 1940 election - however, after his defeat, he was employed by President Franklin Roosevelt as an unofficial roving ambassador, and it is likely that it was in this capacity that he visited Britain during the Blitz (Wilkie publicly supported US wartime aid to Britain even before the United States entered the War). At the relevant time, there were two men who successively held the office of US Vice President: John Nance Garner (1933-41) and Henry Wallace (1941-5).
Interviewee: Brian Morris
Interviewee Gender: Male
Unknown man: Do you remember getting bombed, Brian, remember the bombers coming over to bomb the station . . .
Unknown man: . . . as well, can you . . .
Brian: Yes . . .
Unknown man: . . . (indecipherable) when they were bombing?
Brian: . . . oh, yes, I mean, every night we had an air raid (laughs), for about six months, from June, July 1940 until about June 1941, there was probably five raids a week, some of them were heavy, some were just odd little raids, you know, half a dozen bombers, but in May there was the big one when, for whole week – six nights – there were hundreds, a couple of hundred bombers every night . . .
Brian: . . . fires everywhere.
Unknown man: Going for the station, were they?
Brian: Oh, well, they went for everything.
Unknown man: The railway line?
Brian: Yes, oh, well, well, there were many things. Well, there’s the famous one at Deane Road, where a man got a medal for unhooking an ammunition wagon and driving it away to stop it.
Unknown man: Blowing up? (indecipherable)
Brian: Yes. I don’t know who he is, he had, we, we should put a medal, a plaque up to him somewhere, but, like all these things, it’s all forgotten and it was just run of the mill . . .
Unknown man: Yeah, yeah.
Brian: . . . I mean, Durning Road School was a terrible disaster. People used to go and shelter in the basement of Durning Road School, and it got hit, and there must have been over 120 killed at one (indecipherable)
Jodie: Yeah. We’ve heard about that one, that was, Churchill said that it was one of the greatest loss of civilian life during the War . . .
Brian: Was it, yes?
Jodie: . . . we’ve got a garden space on the station approach where, the gate to that garden is gonna be a, is a memorial to the Blitz, about that tragedy, so . . .
Brian: Is it, yeah?
Jodie: . . . like local schoolchildren have worked on it . . .
Jodie: . . . making the design and we’ve told them about that . . .
Jodie: . . . and what happened, so . . .
Brian: I didn’t know that, no.
Jodie: . . . yeah, so people in this area have, know about that that happened and things.
Brian: Yes, it was a, I mean, we all knew it, like, it was no better, no worse than any of others, I mean, I had, many, I mean, at school, there was, you know, so and so, so and so got killed last night, well, it was just, that’s it . . .
Brian: . . . two minute’s silence, and that was the end of that, and I mean, there’s a girl, married my friend and she, she was the worst injured child on Merseyside, and she received a medal from . . . Wilkie, Wendell Wilkie, was the Vice President of the United States, and he came over here to ginger up our morale, and she lived off Picton Road, and she lost both legs.
Brian: Mind you, she had four children though!
Brian: And outlived everybody!
Jodie: Yeah! (both laugh)
Brian: (coughs) I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s still alive somewhere now! Oh, yes, she’s a very courageous girl . . .
Brian: . . . but she got bombed, dragged out, left for dead, and, sort of, put in the back of a hearse and, because they thought she must be dead . . .
Unknown man: Yeah, course.
Brian: . . . and then bash, for, six hours later, they suddenly realised she was still alive. (Jodie gasps) Terrible.
Unknown man: Terrible.
Categorised under: The War