Stories: Louisa Tyrer

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On the night of March 3rd 1943 we made our down to the air raid shelter as we did every night, Me aged 12, My Mother Louise, My Father George and my three Sisters Eileen (Peggy) aged 17, Rosina (Rosie) aged 15 and my youngest Sister Doris aged 9.

My Brother George who was 21 was in the army in Tabruck

As we were walking along Rosie's shoe strap broke and we stopped to wait for her, Doris had tonsillitis so my father went ahead with her to get her settled, my dad never stayed with us in the air raid shelter, he would take us down there make sure we were settled and then would wait it out with his friends in the Black Horse pub.

As we started to go down the steps all I remember is the four of us being pushed up against the right hand side of the wall, after that I don't remember anything until we were down in the underground and was waiting for my sister and dad to come. In the morning there was still no sign of them and my eldest sister Peggy went to the police station to look for them. She eventually was directed to St Johns church which was being used as a temporary morgue.

Peggy was then told to search up and down the rows of bodies to see if she could identify her dad and little sister.

She later said "you couldn't put a pin between the bruises on some of the victims"

When they bought the bodies home Doris didn't have a mark on her, but my dad's coffin was in a closed coffin as he has a huge boot mark on his face.

It seemed that it was fate that my dad and Doris would die together as she idealised him and he her and I don't think he would have ever recovered if he had survived without her.

I am now the only living survivor from my family and will be 80 this year, it would be truly wonderful to see the memorial built in my lifetime.

- Louisa Tyrer (née Newman)