A Direct Hit

By George Solly

This article was published in the August 2014 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

My father Kenneth George (1907-1994) had first hand experience of the bombing raids that Germany undertook against Britain in WW1 with over 100 missions and 1500 killed.

Kenneth Solly

In 1915 when my father as just 8 years old his father Albert (1878–1956) was a Civil Defence Warden at the Tower of London. Albert was 37 years old then but not conscripted being in a reserved occupation (wholesaling fishmonger at Billingsgate).
Spotting a Zeppelin flying in from the east, Albert was concerned that the Zeppelin was over the highly populous area of East London. Waiting until it was over Wanstead Flats, Albert managed to shoot and disable the enemy craft, setting its gasbag alight. Its crew were desperate to gain height so threw out any moveable object they could lay their hands on to lighten the load.
Meanwhile back at the family home in Ilford, Ken’s mother Daisy May (1879–1963) assembled the children, Cyril, Don and Ken in the safest place she could find – underneath a RSJ beam supporting the main roof. Moments later a full barrel of oil which the Zeppelin crew had just jettisoned came crashing through the roof narrowly missing my father, his brothers and mother! So although not bombed in the correct sense of the word, my father’s house did receive a direct hit!