Two parachute mines fell on the Charnwood Street area during the bombing raid on Leicester on the night of 19 – 20 November 1940, one on Frank Street and the other on Grove Road, causing serious damage to houses and killing three people in each street. Eileen Warman, whose parents were in the fire service during the war, recalled that the blast from the Frank Street bomb blew out all the windows in Elm Street on the other side of Humberstone Road. I understand that the damaged Frank Street houses were eventually replaced with a private day nursery.
Dennis Neal lived in Hart Road during the war and attended Charnwood Street School. He also remembers the raid:
I was under the stairs in the pantry with my mother. My Dad kept popping in to see if we were OK. He was with the other men in the road doing ARP duty. There was a huge explosion as the Grove Road land mine hit, we were covered in dust from the stairs and the whole house shook… After the all clear, I hopped over the dividing wall into the entry to the houses of Vulcan Road that backed onto ours, and saw the dreadful destruction and confusion that was the lower end of Grove Road. My Dad saw me and gave me a whack and sent me home…’
(Wartime Leicestershire, http://www.wartimeleicestershire.com/pages/memoir_files/41.htm).
The war did have a lighter side, though – like the two part leg make-up kit sold by Hill’s chemists in Charnwood Street to imitate nylon stockings. More about this soon…