I’ve been compiling and writing these Remember When pages for eight years and have used the picture on the right many times. It’s one of the marvellous blitz pictures of Portsmouth in The News archive and shows Fifth Street, Fratton, in 1941.
I used it again recently and, as on each previous occasion, was not expecting a response.
But then Alan Sanger e-mailed, a missive which delighted me. It began: ‘The picture has in the centre a young girl and a small boy looking at what is left of a house. The girl is my cousin Audrey and the boy is me, aged five.’
Alan says the house belonged to an RAF pilot, home on leave, his wife and their daughter Mary Jones. They were all killed.
He remembers playing in the ruins and recalls: ‘For anyone of my generation it was a great adventure telling the AA battery on the corner of the road where to point their gun, much to the horror of my mother, my father being somewhere in France at the time, I believe.’
Alan thinks one of the women was a Mrs Sprat.
His house was also demolished and the prams came in handy. ‘We used them to transport what furniture we had left to a house we had requisitioned.’