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Wartime Memories

George Forgan wrote in April 2010:

School Days

All my three brothers and sister went to St Johns School in the late forties and early fifties and the one name they all remembered was Sister Selia a Strict disciplinarian.

I regularly used to walk past St Johns School on my way to Brentford Swimming Baths in Clifden Road. I remember Mrs STEVENSON blowing her whistle and shouting 'everybody out' when she caught someone diving off the gallery.

On Friday nights we used to go to PINKIES pie and eel shop.

I was born in Brentford in 1941 at Alma House Flats Ealing road near the gas works and can still remember the pollution it emitted but everybody seemed to take it as normal.

Around 1943 our family moved to higher up the Ealing Road to the Council Estate the other side of the Great West Road due to bomb damage.

My dad and brothers and uncles used to drink at the Ealing Park Tavern, it was commonly known as the 'flies home' as during the summer the pub was black with flies due to the old sewerage works opposite.

I used to go to school with a Peter CLEMENTS one of the lighter-man family and one of my greatest disappointments was that my mum would not let me accompany him on the river trips he used to go on in the summer hols as my mum lost a brother overboard on a voyage to Canada from Ireland in the Twenties.

V1 Rocket Damage

A V1 Rocket hit 63 Clayponds Ave Brentford at 15.20 on the 12th July 1944 causing much damage including the house my family lived in at Ealing Road. The blast resulted in myself and sister being trapped in the rubble, luckily we here pulled out quickly unharmed, is there any information of this event?

Notes and Updates

Julie Edwards wrote regarding the V1 rocket hit:

My mum, nee Joan NEIGHBOUR was 20 years old at the time and was working at Simmons (the old Lucozade/Beechams building) when they heard the blast. She said she knew the JENNINGS family at number 63; the mother, her 2 daughters, one of whom had 2 children and the other who had just had a baby, were all killed as a result of a direct hit on the house.

My grandmother was on her way to collect her son from school on Ealing Road Bridge and my mum said she always mentioned that the blast almost blew her off her feet.

Linda Hillier nee Chapman added more information in August 2020:

My mother Thelma spoke about this. Her father Stanley HARMER owned Greet Dining Rooms on the corner of Greet Road. The V1 landed and the shock wave tore all the buttons off her cardigan and the hairpins out of her hair.

She also spoke about the dining rooms being open till the early hours to provide meals for the night workers at Simmonds Aerocessories. They charged 1/3 = one shilling and threepence (about 6 p) for pie and two veg and gravy.

During bombing raids they went to the shelter carrying a tea urn and tin mugs plus Dadís accordian. They charged 3d - about 1p- for a cuppa and granddad played the accordian to keep spirits up.


Web master:
FreeBMD and have four Jennings death registrations in the Brentford Registration District, July-August-September 1944:

  • Phoebe V Jennings, age 56, page 181
  • Constance M Jennings, age 19, page 181
  • David Jennings, age 0, page 319
  • Emily J Jennings, age 68, page 349

The first two deaths were recorded on the same page and may be the mother and one of her daughters.

Terry Burke mentions V1 and V2 rockets in his life story; apparently the 'V' stood for 'vengeance'.

Regarding locations mentioned above, the site has a photo showing Greet Road around 1951 and a view of the construction of the M4 in the 1960s, near to Clayponds Avenue.

Page published June 2010; last updated August 2020