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Geneva House

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"On the 18th August 1942 Doreen and her eldest sister Eileen were taking their young babies down the High Street in Ventnor in their prams when a plane came over, no warning, no sirens, as usual. It was about 3 pm. They went into March's Bakers near Church Street until it was over, and then found out that the top of the High Street had been hit. Eileen left Doreen with the two prams and dashed off to find out what had happened.

Doreen was desperate to find out if it had been their house, and was left stranded with two prams to negotiate the High Street with. Her cousin Winnie Burnett (her maiden name was Maybee) came to her rescue and offered to take baby Valerie in her pram to her home in Clarence Road. Doreen then proceeded up the High Street to find Eileen, taking baby Geraldine with her. It had been Geneva House. Their mother Margaret had been inside the house at the time, so Doreen forced her way past a soldier who was turning onlookers away from the bomb site. She remembers Uncle 'Harry' King, her father's brother calling out "Peg". Two people died when the house was bombed, a Mr Russell (father of friend Elsie Pippit Russell - no relation to Edgar Russell) who was staying with them, and a Mrs Eva Cheverton who was visiting and had lived in Albert Street. Mrs Cheverton was found at the bottom of what had been the stairs. Margaret was dug out alive from the rubble. She had been saved due to a kitchen cabinet falling on top of her. Doreen believes that the Ventnor Brewery may have been hit on the same day, she isn't sure. There was nothing left where the baby clothes had been hanging on the washing line. Everything was lost, except some items being in a metal trunk."

In Valerie's version, Nanny was saved, by getting underneath the kitchen table instead, it was Uncle 'Harry' King who dug her out; and two items that were retrieved from the rubble were Valerie's teddy covered with jam, and Nanny's false teeth!

from hearsay: Doreen King/Valerie Westmore