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Stanley Ross remembers the Blitz

A service at St Paul's marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the German air raids which killed and injured thousands of people across the UK in 1940 and 1941.

Stanley Ross, an impressionable nine-year-old at the time, remembers London during those dramatic events.

Image caption Stanley Ross lived in London during the Blitz

"I lived in London throughout most of the Blitz. Even today, over six decades later, just hearing that long wail of the warning siren on old newsreels and films gives me that same cold knot of fear in the pit of my stomach which I always felt all those years ago.

The German campaign was traumatic for everyone, but particularly so for the older children, as we saw people we had known all our young lives, killed, burned, maimed and buried in the rubble of nearby houses.

We watched the V1s, the 'doodlebugs', rattling across the skies every day and we held our breath in terror, as the unmistakable quite suddenly stopped, and if, instead of dropping straightaway as they often did, they flew silently on. We breathed again - it meant that, mercifully for us, they would fall upon somebody else.

One night, asleep in our tiny Anderson shelter during a raid, a stick of eight bombs fell right across our council estate. One landed just a few yards from us, causing our shelter to tip over to its side. It was the only bomb which had failed to explode. We lay there, trembling and terrified, too afraid to move.

My dad ran the two miles from Southgate station where he was on duty, having been told 'Hood Avenue's copped it'. When he saw we were alright, he broke down and sobbed. We children, who had never seen him cry before were all subdued and shocked.

It took a long time for the disposal squad to make the bomb safe and during that time, the Ross family had to sleep deep down, on the platforms of Southgate Tube station. It was a curious business, having trains discharge passengers who were then forced to step around or over the sleeping forms, sheltering from the German bombing.

It was at this time that the government reviewed its previous evacuation policy and decided that all children up to the age of 13 should be evacuated. This time it included me and three weeks later I found myself on Liverpool Street station, clutching my gas mask and case and sporting a large tag tied to my buttonhole. A few hours later we all arrived at a tiny village hall, in Smallburgh, North Norfolk.

Having spent over a year in a lovely Norfolk village, one day I came back for tea and found a large black car waiting. I was to go home, first thing in the morning. I returned to my small council house, surrounded by bombsites. But there's always a trade off - my dear old mum was there, and for me, she always made anything and everything worthwhile. "

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