John Tunstill


As a small child in early 1940 my mother had taken me for a walk along Friern Barnet Road, London, N.11.
Arriving just before the corner of Station Road, the street was attacked by a low flying plane which straffed the street. We were dragged into a local shop but Barckays Bank on the corner suffered a considerable amount of damage. This building is now a cafe but the repairs to the facia are very apparent.
During periods when no food was available my mother took me to a “British Restaurant” situated in the basement of the Town Hall oat the junction of Friern Barnet Road and Frien Barnet Lane. The smell of boiled cabbage, after almost 80 years, still haunts me. The food was disgusting, and rather than eat it I preferred to go hungry.

My mother ran the family business, The Home County Dyers and Cleaners, from 18 Friern Barnet Road. I recall hearing, and seeing a V1, and, terrified, I rushed into the shop and dived under the counter. The buzz bomb was aiming at the Standard Telephone works, three quarters of a miles further on, between Oakliegh Road North and Brunswick Park Road, N.11.

We had a brick and concrete shelter in the rear garden, a Communal Air Raid Shelter, and a steel cage, a Morrison shelter, on the ground floor of the building. Illustrations of a Communal shelter appear in the film Odd Man Out, with James Mason, and can be viewed on

More terrifying than the V2s was a steam lorry which delivered beer to the local public house, hissing and clanking, it frightenen me almost to death.

 Posted by at 2:12 pm

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