Memories of a narrow escape from death for Sally Penny as she recounts the Zeppelin raid. (published in local Newspaper in1988)
Sally who used to live at her Gran’s house in King Street, Wednesbury, was at the pictures when the Zeppelins struck.
When she returned from the Kings Hill Picture House, just off the High Bullen, opposite the undertakers, they found that the house had been destroyed. Most of the surrounding houses were also flattened.
“Gran received compensation because she owned the house” said Sally. “But Mum received nothing, although we lived with Gran and our furniture was there”.
After the raid they rented rooms at the back of Hall’s china shop. At this time Sally’s Dad was in the army. When he returned, Sally’s sisters Edie and Edna were born. Edna she died as a baby when Sally had not long started school. Things became even worse when they were evicted.
“We had nowhere to go. All we had was a kitchen table, a wooden armchair, some little kitchen chairs, a corner cupboard, a side table, the beds and some trunks”.
They stayed with various neighbours until Gran got a room on the Holyhead Road, which they shared with a Mrs. Blundel. Gran died there when Sally was 10.
Then they moved in with her uncle. Her brother Cyril and sister Marie were born at this time. Marie also died as a baby. Sally said “my Father was home from the war to a place they said was a land fit for heroes to live in.
“They didn’t give father a council house until I was 15. We moved to 48 Kilvert Road”.
Sally can remember the days before the raid when she went down the bottom of the road to a little shop to fetch a halfpenny worth of treacle in a jam jar and a penny worth of Quaker Oats!
She recalls Halls shop which used to sell second hand clothes, and the sweet factory, just off Cross Street. Sally and her friends used to fight each other with pigs bladders which they got from a nearby slaughter house.
Other landmarks were: the Cross Keys pub at the bottom of Cross Street, Denton’s cake shop in King Street and Grainger’s sweet shop.
In the Second World War her father was too ill to join up. He had been gassed and shot in the First World War. Instead he joined the Home Guards. He died in coronation year, 1953.
“What a sad story and yet all too common.
And what a lot of old memories Sally Penny has left us, when she decided to put pen to paper.
This is ‘real’ history, and its all thanks to people like Sally Penny, that we know so much”!