Queenie Rawle (nee Gardner) - 19th September 1940
I arrived at my office in Kings Cross only to be sent home with the rest of the staff because a bomb had landed close by and all the office windows had been blown out. I got home 94 Durham Road (Now Kitchener Road) to find my Mum and Mrs F Shaw preparing to go round to Miller Memorial Church in 'The Avenue', to help serve tea and food to people who had lost their homes. A land mine had caused great destruction in Stoney South, off Tottenham High Road and people needed help.
Mrs Shaw was our neighbour in the upstairs flat and she was looking after her little grandson Donald aged 6 years. I decided to go along with them. We did our best to help and returned home about 5.30 pm. My Dad worked at J.A Prestwich ( the JAP) and had to come home through the devastation of Stoney South. After a quick meal, Dad felt that we would all be safer if we went to the Lordship Shelter. Mrs Shaw and Donald came too (Mr Shaw was on night work) and we arrived there about 7.30 I think. It was so crowded we turned round to go back home - Just then the sirens sounded and we had to stay.
J. A Prestwich - Jap Motors - 1914
I have got a feeling that there were benches one side of the tunnels and spaces on the floor to sit opposite. Dad,Mrs Shaw, Donald and I sat on the floor and Mum sat opposite us. A Mrs Bedford sat next to Mum and everyone seemed to be quite comfortable, talking, reading newspapers and I remember that I was knitting. The next thing I remember was darkness and people crying and moaning. I don't know whether I was knocked out, but must have been thrown about as I was on top of mud and rubble and couldn't see or feel anyone. There was a very strong smell of ammonia which apparently came from the bomb. I felt cool air coming from somewhere and I crawled towards it and found a hole in the roof with heavy wire jagging out of the earth Wardens found me and took me to the house of the Pond family in Higham Road. The kindness of those people was incredible - they opened their door to about 20 muddy and shocked souls and shared their rations with us, and kept us warm and comfortable for the night. I will never forget them.
Queenie Rawle (nee Gardener) with her parents in 1939
I suppose I left about 7.00 am not knowing what had happened to my family and made my way home hoping to find news of them there. I just didn't know what to do until my Aunty arrived not knowing we been to the shelter. It was late Friday evening that a neighbour who worked at St Ann's Hospital ( North Eastern Hospital in those days) recognised Mum and told us that she was badly injured. We couldn't find Dad or Mrs Shaw or Donald and enquired at all the local hospitals. It wasn't until Saturday that Aunty located Dad in Prince of Wales hospital. Mr Shaw had identified him and Mrs Shaw - tragically they had both died. Donald was fine though and had been taken home to his parents in Enfield.
Prince of Wales Hospital - Tottenham 1930
I was so fortunate to have survived with only a few scratches. Mum, bless her, lived on until she was 92 years.
Queenie Rawle (nee Gardner)
Footnote; The following extracts have been taken from Queenies letter that accompanied her memories of this tragic incident, since they help convey the feelings of a survivor and also recall some other wonderful memories of the local Area.
'Thank you so much for your letter and all the information. It is so very kind of you to take all this interest to have a memorial for those who tragically died in the shelter. I have thought over the years that something should be done as my Dad and Mrs Florence Shaw's names are not included on the civilian memorial list in the cemetery'
'I have tried no to think too deeply about my experiences on 19th Sept. Mum and I never talked about it either but perhaps we should have done to help with our shock. I feel now that there should be a record of how things happened and my husband and I really appreciate what you are doing for us'
'So many things have interested me, especially from Vera Firth. She mentioned at the end that her parents were friends of Florence Shaw. I think that they could have been friends of her daughter who was always called Florrie. Mrs Shaw lived in the flat above us and I was Florrie's bridesmaid in 1933.'
'It was good too to read Connie Lloyds letter. I didn't realise that she still lived locally. I knew her many years ago when her daughter was in the Guides with my daughter, I must get in touch '
'My husband's grandfather lived at number 5 Summerhill Road, in 1889 with his wife Ellen and her parents - Mr & Mrs Bradbury (He was a draper) My husband's Grandfather was Frank Rawle'
'There was also an Uncle of my mothers (well she always referred to him as Uncle Walker) who lived in Summerhill Road at Royston House. We have a remembrance card for his funeral in 1890' (n.b See 1881 Census return - Enoch Walker was a Vestry Clerk who was born in Royston, Herts. Hence Royston House)
' We also have an official programme for the 'Charter Day' ceremonies 27th Sept 1934. Les (my Husband) and I remember a procession and a fair being held in the 'Rec' at the time and we played a few years before that in the 'Rec'. I feel sure the 'Rec' was open to the public before the date given - perhaps 1936 as the date that the Traffic Area and the Shell bandstand was opened.
Well your letter has really stirred up some memories and I could go On and On!! '
It is with deep sadness that we report Queenie Rawle (Nee Gardner) passed away peacefully on the 26th November 2016 aged 92 years
Article Updated - December 2016