The Headmaster’s wife’s tale

After receiving valuable new material from Long Marston School, we are now able to share a personal experience of that fateful day from a different perspective. All previous accounts of the bombing of the school have been from the children; this recently discovered account is from Margaret Savage, wife of the Headmaster.

‘I went to the school after 4pm to open the lending library as I did every week. As I reached home I heard a plane circling. Suddenly there was a loud crunch; dust and smoke rising way down the village. I collected my two small children and ran inside with them and we sat under the Morrison Shelter. Gordon was already on his bicycle rounding up the firefighters.

I did not see Gordon until the next day when he returned home, very hungry, tired and dirty. He told me that the school had received a direct hit, the schoolhouse had been demolished and Mrs Whelan, the Infant Headmistress and her dog had been killed. The only other casualty was a little girl who had been knocked down by the blast and had broken her leg.

Strangely the War Memorial had been shifted a few inches along its base but was otherwise undamaged. How fortunate we were that the bomb was not dropped half an hour earlier when the children would have been leaving school and their mothers arriving to change their library books’.

Postscripts

  1. A Morrison Shelter was a large, heavy table made of Steel with wire at the side where people could crawl through for safety. It was named after Herbert Morrison Home Secretary during the war.
  2. Other accounts confirm that the ‘little girl’ was Jean Frost, an evacuee whose mother was not pleased that her daughter was so injured, when she was supposed to be in the country, escaping wartime bombin.

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