I feel so lucky to be alive today | Rick Jackson

There are some good things about Facebook you know.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 5:44 pm
Recovery of bomb from Torrington Road, North End, Portsmouth. Dropped June 1941, recovered January 1946. Weight approx 2000lb. Picture: Courtesy of John Sadden.

I love the historical or nostalgia pages charting the history of the places where we live.

A fascinating series of photos appeared on one such page.

It was about a massive bomb dropped by the Germans in 1941 and it landing on a house in Portsmouth in Torrington Road.

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Rick Jackson's bus during its MOT.

The ‘Satan’ bomb fell straight through the house and embedded itself in the ground under the house without exploding.

No one in the house was harmed because the bomb fell at night and they were asleep. The bomb was lodged so deeply work was abandoned on making it safe, so the house was demolished, the bomb concreted over and a water tank put on top.

After the war, work began to make it safe. A shaft was dug and only two men were allowed down at a time. It was the big freeze of 1947 and this work was done in January. It must have been bitterly cold for the men working in such confined and dangerous conditions.

Imagine; you are surrounded by houses, deep in a narrow mine and in front of you is an 1,800kg unexploded bomb. You have to remove the fuse. Your hands are frozen.

Eventually the fuse was removed as residents and military personnel celebrated. Had the bomb gone off, it would have taken more than 80 houses with it.

It turns out German prisoners of war also helped prepare the site for the defusing before they were repatriated and you can see some of them wearing their SS uniforms!

All these years later and another huge bomb was discovered in the mud in the harbour during dredging work for the new aircraft carriers.

I love these sites. A big thank you to those who contribute with photographs and stories.

Pandemic or no pandemic, it makes me feel so very lucky to be alive today. Thinking of our grandparents huddled, scared witless in air raid shelters, I will no longer complain about it being too windy to use the hot tub!

Would you go just five miles from home for your holiday?

It’s a bank holiday weekend – hurrah! The weather is improving and it’s going to be warm and sunny – hurrah! I have the week off – hurrah!

It’s also half-term and we are camping on the Isle of Wight – aghhhh!

Actually, I’m looking forward it. We are back at our favourite campsite with our new tent. We have electricity, a heater and an electric blanket!

What is interesting is how many islanders camp there. Yes, last time our neighbour lived in the nearest town of Ryde and was there for a week and a listener from Sandown, just five miles from the campsite, will be spending the same week there as us. There are a lot of strange people on the Isle of Wight, says this former islander!

My double-decker bus rides again as she passes her MOT

She passed!

It was a nerve-racking drive to Romsey where my 1982 Leyland Olympian double-decker bus was due her first MOT in more than two years, but she made it and passed with flying colours.

It’s a fascinating process. I had to drive her on to a rolling road and press the brakes until they stopped the rollers. Thankfully they did!

Checking the steering geometry was interesting, as the front wheels stood on two plates which moved and vibrated the wheels so all the rods and bushes beneath could be checked. Then the emissions test. I revved her 11-litre Gardner engine, the examiner was impressed how clean the engine was. With a clean bill of health, she lives to fight another day.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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