Children Attacked From the Air

A wartime childhood, part four

Hunningham Old School House
Anne Langley

Continuing the extracts from Julie Barnett’s record of her childhood (Warwickshire County Record Office CR 3913/1).

‘The most frightening moment in the war was being machine gunned by a German plane. A group of about 15 children were walking from Eathorpe, across the fields to Hunningham school, when a German plane flew over the hedges and fired its guns at us. As the bullets splattered into the ground, we ran to the river [Leam] bank for protection, the girls were all crying but not the boys, and Eva Thorne’s white scarf fell to the ground as she ran. The bank was muddy and we slithered down into the river getting legs soaked up to the knees.’

Safe but shaken

‘After the plane flew away, we returned to the field and found that Eva’s scarf was full of bullet holes, though luckily no-one had been hurt. I suggested we should go back home, but the other children decided to go on to school and when we arrived there we were taken into the headmaster’s house, where his housekeeper…looked after us. She gave us hot drinks and dried our wet socks and legs, but none of us could stop shaking, perhaps because we were cold but more likely because we were traumatised and frightened…Mr Helm told us to say at home for the next three days as we needed a break from school.’

Part five can be found here.

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