"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

March 03, 2010

EAST ENDERS


German bombers set ablaze London's industrial East End to destroy docks, warehouses and factories - and demoralize working class families.

In the book "A Cockney Kid In Green Wellies," author Jim Ruston described the aftermath of an air raid:

"Fire hoses wriggled along the ground like snakes, as they were pulled from building to building. Fractured water mains spurted fountains of water high in the air. Emergency supplies had to be pumped from the Regent's canal.

"Firemen, ambulance crews, civil defence members, and the heavy rescue teams were going about their work. The smoke stung your eyes, the dust got in your mouth and the acrid smell of gas lingered in your nostrils.

"As if a vision, dad appeared. He seemed to come from nowhere out of the smoke and dust. ... His face was black, his blue overalls covered in grime, under his arm he held a helmet with the letter R for rescue painted on the front. For that is what he did throughout the Blitz. Defiant, he would never go down a shelter.

"Like most East-Enders, dad thought London exclusively his."