Fl/Sgt Edward Kent, Flight Engineer, 220 Squadron based in the Azores
I was 16 when the war started and serving my time as an apprentice painter and decorator in South Shields. Time went on and air raids became a very regular thing: houses were blown up, people were killed. Conscription was on the way and I wanted to become a pilot. Bomb shelters had been built in the streets for people to gather in for protection. At night, no lights were allowed to be shown, and there was a complete black out, being near the river living not far from the sea made the town a perfect target for bombers overhead. One night I remember in particular, it was my turn to stand-by with a work mate on fire-watch duty at my place of work. At midnight the air-raid sirens sounded and the town was heavily bombed. A few yards from where we were two shops were hit, resulting in several people being seriously hurt. Further along the street a department store was demolished and bombs had dropped on the market place, killing a lot of people.
Just sat and read this article, and it has brought tears to my eyes. Reading names that my uncle has mentioned aswell brought a smile to my face, The Canadian F/O Harry Shaak,the old timer Sgt McMahon and the W/O Sgt Barry Beeston.
We should be so proud of our family\'s wartime history.
Regards Andy Rogers.
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