- In the Teddington and Twickenham area, about 500 houses were destroyed and over 32,000 damaged in enemy bomb attacks. 143 civilians were killed and nearly 500 had to be rehoused locally.
The writer is AMELIA CHANDLER (1881 – 1962) who moved with her parents to Teddington from East Molesey in 1882.
She was at the time of writing living with her husband, EDWARD (1881 – 1945), in a flat over their Antiques Shop at No. 5 Hampton Road, Teddington, Middx.
The recipient is her elder son, KENNETH CHANDLER (1909 – 2005) who was stationed at the RAF Training Centre at Cranwell, Lincs.
“Dear Ken Just a hurried line hoping you got your parcel safe. Marjorie (her daughter) contributed towards the eats. Now I daresay you are wondering how things are here.
“Well I must tell you we had the most terrifying experience anybody could have last Friday night (29 November 1940) and I sincerely hope we shall never have another one like it.
“We had 6 hours of hell ‐ bombs dropping all around us. It simply rained incendiaries.
“The street was lit up and the Baltic Timber Co. in Stanley Road, about 200 yards away from us was burnt out. The firemen were there all night and all day Saturday before it was put out and St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill was also burnt out, so you can guess what a target it was for the enemy.
“Bombs fell one after the other with terrific crashes, so I can assure you Teddington had it as hot as one could.
“We simply did not know where to go. Ron (her sister’s son who lived with his parents William and Florence Sims in Langham Road) was here ‐ he got caught as he came up to ask me to get something at the shops for his mother and as the raid came on so bad I told him he had better wait as it was not safe for him to go out.
“The siren went at about 6.15, but they didn’t start dropping bombs until after 7 o’clock, and then we had it well and truly.
“It was Crash Bang for hours. We thought every minute would be our last. Then at about 10 o’clock, Bang, Bang at our front door and a lot of shouting so I rushed and opened it and a man said, “Your roof’s on fire, you must come out of it”, so we all had to rush out in a terrific barrage and run to a shelter up Hampton Road, opposite the Hospital.
“I tell you Ken we were scared stiff, it was an incendiary bomb dropped on it, so the man soon put it out, but there is a big hole in the roof now in Marjorie’s bedroom, and Leslie’s (her younger son ‐ my father ‐ who was away in the Army) bedroom window is broken, also a part of the skylight over the kitchen.
“Miss Honey had her shop window smashed and a lot more had their windows broken in Broad Street, Queens Road and Walpole Road and there are only about 6 windows not broken down the High Street.
“Do you know the Willoughby Hotel opposite to Mrs. Brooks’ shop where she used to live? … well that is a heap of dirt.
“The house next door had a direct hit and the blast took the Willoughby down. I think a wedding party was on there, we heard there were 17 people killed but Marjorie and Leslie (Leslie came home yesterday but has gone back today) saw Joan Smyrk (a friend) and her mother this afternoon and they said there were people still alive in the ruins and they were giving them oxygen.
“It is terrible poor things. Then we heard tonight that they were getting them out, of course some are dead. A bomb also dropped at the side of the Bridge outside the sweet shop next to the toy shop and made a large crater in the ground and strange to say, not a window in the sweet shop is broken, while others near are. T
“Three bombs also dropped in Watts Lane, about seven people were killed I think. One house is demolished and another wrecked and Lion House in Cambridge Road where Colonel Storrs lives ‐ (he is one of our Church Wardens) is also wrecked and his wife seriously injured, poor thing ‐ she is not strong and is nearly blind.
“Colonel Storrs was slightly hurt. We also heard the Lab. (National Physical Laboratory) had 2 direct hits and 7 people were killed in the air raid shelter.
They were taken from other shelters that were over‐crowded and put there. In fact we heard that some of them were sent from the shop up Stanley Road next to the Baltic Timber Yard and the poor things were killed there, so I suppose it was to be. The house where Grandmother (her mother Elizabeth Heather née Haynes) used to live in Cambridge Road (No. 5) is also wrecked and no end more.
“The (number of) windows broken is colossal ‐ I don’t know how and when they are going to be mended, also where are all the people going who have had to get out of their houses. The Baptist Church is also wrecked. (In) Shacklegate Road there were people killed as a house was demolished.
“I am afraid there are a lot of people killed in Teddington, but Mum’s the Word ‐ don’t tell people too much. The Luxor Twickenham (cinema) is also wrecked and Phelps Storehouse. Sunbury Station they say is no more.
“Hampton and Feltham did not escape, so we all had a taste, but Teddington I believe had the biggest share.
“I do wish it would all end it is really very nerve racking. One doesn’t know where to go as nowhere is really safe ‐ even little country places get it sometimes.
“I am afraid only the Lord can stop it and I wish a miracle would come and help us. Now I must close hoping you are well, so cheerio.”
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