We would like to try and save as many of your memories as we can
As part of our Beyond the Blitz series, we asked for your memories and stories of the Coventry Blitz. We had hoped for 70 for 70 years, and have exceeded it.
Our recorded stories, 70 Stories for 70 Years, have been played out on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and have become part of our online blitz map.
The stories have been given to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry for their archive.
We are still receiving your stories and we will try and include some below.
John Stevens, Stretton-on-Dunsmore
My father-in-law was stationed at Church Lawford on the night of the blitz. He was sergeant of the guard that night and took the telephone call to get the troops into Coventry to help dig out survivors. He also marched them in that night. Another interesting fact is that my father, who was in the Royal Artillery, was manning an anti-aircraft gun at Bulkington. He told us the gun was sighted at what is now Camp Farm.
Alison Bushnell, Coventry
Alison sent us this message:
This is something my mother-in-Law wrote for the Earlsdon ECHO in November 1990 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of The Blitz. My husband, Keith, is one of the ECHO team. Joyce Bushnell (Coldicott as she was then) was only 14 and living in Earlsdon when Coventry was bombed. She died three years ago, but her story is a snapshot of what happened to ordinary families across the city.
"As a fourteen year-old schoolgirl at the time, I have quite vivid recollections of the blitz. When the sirens sounded in the evening of 14 November we decided to stay indoors under the stairs, having spent many nights in the Anderson shelter in the garden with nothing much happening. Little did we realise what was in store for us that night. I must have dozed off and woke up with a start to find plaster falling all around and my mouth full of dust. Our living room was covered with glass from the shattered windows. Later we were to hear that one of our neighbours had been killed by flying glass.
My father was out fire watching and I well remember my mother and I making a dive for the Anderson shelter, mother clutching the large brown handbag containing birth certificates, insurance policies, bank books, identity cards etc - not forgetting our precious ration books. It was a bright moonlight night and we could see that the whole town was alight and bombs were falling all around. It was the first time I had felt really frightened. The bombing continued nearly all night and the noise was terrific. Two houses in our road received a direct hit but we were very lucky apart from the initial damage to our house.
The next morning when we emerged from the shelter there was devastation all around and an acrid smell of burning buildings. Nevertheless, with the exuberance of youth, I tired to make my way to school by bicycle and was prevented from entering several roads because of craters and unexploded bombs.
I eventually made my way to Radford Road from Earlsdon, only to find a large notice on the school gate: 'No school until further notice owing to extensive damage.' Most of the school (Barr's Hill) had been evacuated to Leamington at the beginning of the war and later to Atherstone but I, an only child, had not wanted to leave my parents. After the blitz, however, there was very little schooling, but after a while part-time schooling was restored in the few undamaged classrooms. It is to the great credit of the staff that they carried on teaching in those appalling conditions all through the war and that they were able to enter us for public examinations with good results.
For a few weeks we were without gas and electricity, and water had to be fetched from stand-pipes in the streets. We were not short of food, however, as rationing was waived in Coventry for two weeks after the blitz. The difficulty was in finding shops that were undamaged and still functioning. I remember cycling to Earlsdon Street and bringing back three succulent pork chops from a butcher's shop and frying them on the open coal fire. There were also mobile food canteens around.
I had earlier become an A.R.P. messenger, stationed at Centaur Road School, but my duties were restricted to taking messages from there to the Warden's H.Q. in Moor Street. Only the boys were allowed out when there was any danger. I remember that one or two boy messengers were killed in the blitz, I believe in the Foleshill area.
After the blitz came the task of clearing up and boarding up the windows of those who were lucky enough to have houses left. I believe that we were then spared any more raids until the following April when we were raided with incendiary bombs. This was also an horrific experience. One of my school friends was killed in this raid when the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital was hit. All the patients had been moved to the basement and the hospital received a direct hit."