Stories: Joan Wilson

The Second World War was on and my Mother asked me if I would like to go to Wales for a while. I said I would, because of the bombings. There were a lot of children going there from Bethnal Green. So my sister, Audrey, and myself were evacuated to Wales. I was seven and my sister was 6.

Later in March 1943 there was a disaster down the Bethnal Green tube station, which was where people went during the air raids. My Grandmother, Sarah Seabrook, and my brother, Barry Seabrook, who was only 3, fell over and got crushed to death. My Grandmother died on the way to hospital. My Gran was looking after my brother, because my mother was away as she was about to give birth to my third sister.

After my Mother had our baby sister, Valerie, she came to see us and told us that our Brother and Grandmother had gone to Heaven. We all cried. I will never forget that day. My Dad, who was in the Army, had to come home and identify the bodies of his only Son and Mother. His two sisters came out alive.

There were 173 people killed that day on the Bethnal Green stairway because of the terrible crush of the people trying to get down there for safety, because they thought the German planes were going to drop their bombs.

- Mrs. Joan Wilson