12 Panmure Road

 

Fatalities:

Arabella SHEARD, Beryl SHEARD, Eileen Alice SHEARD, Mildred Isabel SHEARD & Bridget Maud TOLLAFIELD

Injured:

None known at present.

 Posted by at 9:38 am

  2 Responses to “12 Panmure Road”

  1. I have put off for many years the committing of this narrative as told to me in the mid to late 1970’s by my Uncle Ernest Francis SHEARD (Ernie), son of Arabella, brother of Mildred Isabel, husband of Eileen Alice and father of Beryl. How it came about that he told me about the incident was quite innocent, I was visiting him and his second wife one Sunday afternoon not long after my mother’s father had passed away which of course had come up in the conversation and as I had only met him for the first time just a year or so prior to his passing I said that at least I had met him and it being better than I had with both my grandmothers who had both died during the war and that I had never even seen a photograph of my father’s mother. Of course out comes the old photographs and I get to see some pictures of my grandmother.

    My own father would never talk about what happened and made it abundantly clear he didn’t want it discussed in his presence, I think I can understand why and I can definitely understand the pain he must have felt and to be honest I don’t think he really knew much as he was away in the Royal Navy at the time. My Uncles second wife had been a close friend of Eileen’s and I think it was her that started my Uncle in telling us what had happened.

    He wanted us to understand that in January 1945 the war in Europe was going pretty well and there was a general feeling that it would not last much longer and people were starting to think of a possible future. He, his wife & daughter were visiting his parents to tell them the news that Eileen was pregnant. Ernie & his father were not in the house at the time of the attack (probably down the pub having a celebratory drink I suppose) and were on their way home and just a short way away when the V2 struck.

    When they got to the house they knew where everybody would be in the house so that is where they went to. He could hear his mother comforting his daughter so he knew they survived and he said that he later found out one of the others (I cannot remember who he said it was) was decapitated so that at least one of the 5 to die in the house died immediately in the blast. Ernie was a fireman in the London Fire Brigade so he knew what he was doing so he started to make a way through and had made an opening by the time the Civil Defence arrived. He was forcibly stopped and despite his protestations the Civil Defence started digging from elsewhere, he staying where he was to keep talking to his mother & daughter. Evidently there must have been a fire somewhere in the house that became an inferno once the Civil Defence made their opening and Ernie had to listen to his mother and daughter burn to death. He was adamant that if the Civil Defence had continued from where he had started that at least Arabella & Beryl would have survived.

    The report recorded by Lewis Blake in his 1990 book “Bolts from the Blue” shown here confirms that at least Beryl was burned to death but of course his source just states that the rescuers were trying to break through a party wall with no mention of any other entrance having been made.

    I have been reminded by Clive Sheard that Ernie had popped out to buy some cigarettes and was walking back up Panmure Road when the rocket struck, and that my grandfather, Wilfred Herbert Sheard had been working on neighbours roof and lost an eye in the blast.

    • According to my research Wilfred Herbert Sheard was taken to Leatherhead Hospital with injuries to his face and scalp. According to the report, he was 68 years of age.

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