World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Walter Charlesworth 

Sheffield Blitz

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Walter Charlesworth and Joe Simnett
Location of story: Musgrave Crescent Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian

Rescue from the air raid shelter Musgrave Cres. Sheffield

This story was submitted to the people's war site by a volunteer from Radio Sheffield Actiondesk on behalf of Walter Charlesworth.

It was 7 o’clock on the 11th of December 1940, and I was at my future wife’s, Jess Simnett’s, house as it was her birthday, when the air raid siren sounded. The Simnett family headed for the Frosts' air raid shelter. Suddenly my future father in law, Joe Simnett shouted, "There is a parachutist coming down." As he set off to confront the parachutist, there was a sudden gust of warm air and then cold, first one way and then the other. It was a parachute bomb and it had exploded, badly damaging approximately 12 houses in a horseshoe shape in Musgrave Crescent at Shirecliffe.

I escaped any serious injuries although my ears were bleeding, but Joe whom we couldn’t find at first, was badly cut when he finally emerged from the rubble. We then started to help get the seven people out of the air raid shelter, two of whom were elderly, and Joe had to carry them to safety. When the First Aid people arrived, Joe insisted that the others were helped first despite his injuries. For this he received the Civil Defence Medal, a medal for brave conduct and a commendation letter from the Regional Commissioner for his services, notice of which appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette

Mr and Mrs Kenny, who were neighbours, had both been killed; shot by machine gun fire from the bomber, whose target had been the gun emplacement at Shirecliffe.
The shops at Shirecliffe were also badly damaged in the raid. Hammond's the bakery and Hammond's the fruit shop, owned by two brothers, and Maxwell's the Chemist all having there windows broken.

Father Bell from St Leonards came to the scene, and took all those who could walk back to the church to sleep for the night. The funny thing was that the church was still being built and didn’t have a roof.

We returned to the house the next day to find Jess’s birthday cake had been splattered all over by the raid, but her new coat was nowhere to be found.

On Sunday we were billeted out to George Wilkinson's Builder's yard at Calvert Street Darnall, whilst the houses at Musgrove Crescent were repaired. My future wife’s family Jess, Rosina and Joe Simnett were first billeted to Longley, and then Shirecliffe road. This meant courting had to be conducted from a distance and involved travelling on the old Circular bus route.

Please also see Stories entitled Musgrave Crescent Sheffield 2 and 3 for further pictures.



This medal was awarded to Mr Joe Simnett it relates to a previous story Titled Shefield Blitz Musgrave Crescent.