Life dur­ing the Blitz was tough

Rotorua Review - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - FROM PAGE 1

‘‘The night sky was so bright, lit up by blaz­ing ware­houses.’’

Maisie vividly de­scribes liv­ing un­der fire in her book ’My World War II Ex­pe­ri­ences’ and how bomb­ing raids be­came a nightly oc­cur­rence, see­ing first hand the bomb­ing of Rother­hithe Docks.

‘‘The night sky was so bright, lit up by blaz­ing ware­houses, dock build­ings and large ships. Rum, mo­lasses, sugar, flour, mar­garine and paint all burn­ing and float­ing on the River Thames,’’ she said.

‘‘Con­ti­nous raids night and day. Six storey houses were sheared through as though cut with a knife but a mir­ror or a pic­ture would still be hang­ing on a top floor wall...some­times a body which was discreetly re­moved as soon as pos­si­ble.

On the night of Novem­ber 4, 1940, Maisie thought it might all be over for her and her fa­ther at their Sid­cup home.

‘‘Twelve bombs came down, each one get­ting closer. We both said ‘the next one is ours’ but it didn’t come. The same thing hap­pened about a week later.’’

They also wit­nessed the Dog­fights that gave birth to Win­ston Churchill’s fa­mous ‘‘never was so much owed by so many to so few’’ speech.

‘‘I saw quite a few planes spi­ral towards land, some of them on fire, both Ger­man and our,’’ Maisie said.

‘‘We watched un­til it be­came danger­ous when ma­chine bul­let cases and bits of metal came hurtling down around us.’’

It was such a sight that greeted the cou­ple as they emerged from All Saints Church in New Eltham on Sun­day De­cem­ber 1, 1940, the day of their mar­riage.

Af­ter their wed­ding John’s radar work con­tin­ued to take him around the coun­try - and fur­ther afield - in­clud­ing a mis­sion to Gi­bral­tar which, in his un­der­stated style, he de­scribes as ‘‘quite in­ter­est­ing’’.

The Bonds re­turned to New Zealand in 1944 when John was ap­pointed New Zealand’s Direc­tor of Radar - a jour­ney through sub­ma­rine in­fested wa­ters that in­cluded a stop at Guan­tanamo Bay - be­fore leav­ing the ser­vice at the end of the War.

Af­ter a stint farm­ing, Bond saw an ad­vert for maths and physics teach­ers, a role that even­tu­ally took the cou­ple to Ro­torua.

‘‘I wasn’t in­ter­ested in mak­ing money,’’ John said.

‘‘As long as we could af­ford a house. I just wanted to do a job for the coun­try. Sounds a bit corny, but it’s a fact.’’

The night be­fore their wed­ding was spent in sep­a­rate cor­ners of her par­ents din­ing room, the safest place in the house.

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