Bombing escape of man in WW2

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A SCARBOROUGH man has told of his lucky escape during the Second World War when a local school was bombed by the enemy.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of when Queen Margaret’s School was destroyed when a German parachute mine landed on the gym during March 18, 1941.

George Brown, who is now 70-years-old and lives in Leeds, was just a toddler in nearby Royal Avenue when the massive explosion happened in Queen Margaret’s Road.

The force of the blast was so hard he was thrown out of an air raid shelter and landed in a fire place. “It was a tremendous explosion which shattered all the windows and doors along Royal Avenue,” he said.

At the time the pupils had been evacuated to Castle Howard and the school was used by the military.

Mr Brown said that he had a lucky escape because that was the first night in months that his mother had not lit a fire where he had landed.

He added: “If that had not have happened I would not be here today. That was my one and only brush with Hitler.

“When I was older my grandmother recounted the story to me. I was amazed to realise what might have happened and how lucky I’d been.”

He said that the school was totally destroyed as a result of the direct hit and it was also lucky that soldiers who had been billeted there were evacuated earlier.

“I am sure there will be people still alive that will have memories of that night,” he said.

“The explosion was a tremendous blast because the damage it did – not only in the area where the bomb hit but four streets away.”

He added that as well as the damage to the windows of his home the blast also caused a large crack down the back door which was still visible years later. “Ramshill Road lost most of its shop windows,” he said.

According to reports at the time a dance had been arranged, for the soldiers billeted there, on the night of the raid but it was cancelled after they left on the previous day.

Mr Brown worked as a projectionist at the Futurist when he left school and left Scarborough in 1969 to work at Yorkshire TV – where his career included a spell as a senior negative cutter.