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Belfast Blitz survivor Esther recalls night she saved her family from bomb-hit home

By Cate McCurry

Published 16/04/2016

Esther Fyffe (83), who was eight at the time of the Belfast Blitz with the coins that survived the bombing of her house
Esther Fyffe (83), who was eight at the time of the Belfast Blitz with the coins that survived the bombing of her house
Belfast during the Blitz

A woman whose home crumbled around her during the Belfast Blitz has spoken of the moment she helped save her family from the wreckage.

Esther Fyffe was just eight years old when her home in north Belfast, which she shared with her mother and younger brother, was bombed.

More than a thousand people were killed in Belfast when three air raids on the city were carried out by the Luftwaffe in 1941.

The 83-year-old vividly recalled how her mother made desperate attempts to protect her family from the bombs and incendiary devices which rained down on the city for hours.

As part of the ongoing tributes to mark the 75th anniversary of the Blitz, Mrs Fyffe spoke of the events that unfolded that dark day and how she lived through the horror of her home in Hardcourt Drive collapsing around her.

"We went to bed quite early. We were conscious of the sirens and planes flying over us and then my mother realised she had better get us out of bed.

"We were asleep at the time but I remember coming down the stairs and they were shaking. I think my mother was listening to the wireless and listening in particular as to what they were advising us to do. They were advising everyone to go under the stairs which might be the safest place to be. We did that but because there was no light under our stairs my brother Roy panicked, he was only four and my mother had to bring us out.

"My mother then brought the table out as that was another thing they were telling us to do. So we all sat under the table and she had Roy on her knees and she was reading to us to keep us as calm as possible."

Mrs Fyffe described how a short time later the house started to shake and then suddenly collapsed while they were still inside.

She added: "I managed myself to get out and I shouted for my mum, "come on, come on, mummy" and she said to me 'you shout for help', and she was buried under rubble and Roy was buried too.

Entire buildings razed at Bridge Street
Entire buildings razed at Bridge Street
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. SOLDIERS. 4/5 May 1941. Soldiers playing gramophone. AR 151.
A huge crater at Ravenscroft Avenue off the Newtownards Road after the Blitz of 1941
The Albert Clock stands tall amid the rubble and ruins of High Street
Baby elephant, Sheila, who was moved out of Belfast zoo because of fears of a hit from bombers during the Belfast Blitz of 1941
Sheila the elephant: Northern Ireland woman Denise Weston Austin kept a baby elephant in her backyard during Belfast Blitz
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. HIGH STREET. 4/5 May 1941. High Street after the bombs. AR 79.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. SOLDIERS. 4/5 May 1941. Soldiers taking refreshments. AR 151.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. BRIDGE STREET. 4/5 May 1941. Bridge Street from High Street. AR 33
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. CITY HALL. 4/5 May 1941. Belfast City Hall showing the roof above the Banqueting Hall, damged after an explosion. AR 43.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. CHILDREN EVACUATED. April/May 1941. Children being evacuated at the railway station. AR 61.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. YORK STREET. 15/16 April 1941. Musical interlude. An impromtu organ recital AR 192.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. YORK STREET. 15/16 April 1941. Ballymoney mobile canteen at demolition squad. AR 196.
WORLD WAR II: V.E. DAY CELEBRATIONS BELFAST 1945.
Ewart's Crumlin Road, inspection of shells. 3/12/1943
Belfast Municipal College of Technology, College Square. Training women munition workers, two are shown operating a milling machine. 1942-05-14
Manufacturing parachute travelling bags at Ewarts Ltd., Bedford Street. A female worker shows the finished bag. 9/12/1943
Ewart's Crumlin Road, finishing the base of a shell to length. 3/12/1943
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. SHORE ROAD. 4/5 May 1941. Spreading the rubble. AR 160.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. THORNDIKE STREET. 15/16 April 1941.Debris after the bomb. AR 175.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. YORK ROAD. 4/5 May 1941. Londonderry mobile canteen at demolition squad. AR 211.
Typical female munition worker at "Combe Barbour". 22/11/1941
Shells being pressed and marked and numbered. 14/2/1940
World War 2: VE - Day. Crowd listening to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's broadcast at Belfast City Hall. (08/05/1945)
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. CHILDREN EVACUATED. April/May 1941. Children being evacuated at the railway station. AR 60.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. YORK ROAD. 4/5 May 1941. Removing furniture. AR 211.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. ST. ANNE'S CATHEDRAL. April/May 1941. Miraculously St. Anne's Cathedral survived, while most of Donegall Street was reduced to rubble AR 65.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. EGLINTON STREET. 4/5 May 1941. Eglinton Street and Carlisle Street (Carlisle Street). AR 70.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. HIGH STREET. 4/5 May 1941. High Street from top of Woolworths building. AR 92.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. HALLIDAYS ROAD. 15/16 April 1941. Smoke issuing from a crater. AR 95.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. INTERNATIONAL BAR. 4/5 May 1941. International Bar, York Street after air raids. AR 105.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. HARLAND & WOLFF. 4/5 May 1941. The International Bar (corner of Donegall Street and York Street) still ablaze. AR 107.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. NEWTOWNARDS ROAD. 4/5 May 1941.Newtownards Road, blitzed areas cleaned up. AR 128.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. ROSEMARY STREET. 4/5 May 1941.Rosemary Street and Bridge Street. AR 138.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. ROSEMARY STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 4/5 May 1941. AR 144.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. SUGARHOUSE ENTRY. April/May 1941. Where the United Irishmen used to meet under the leadership of Henry Joy McCracken in the days of '98. AR 161.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. TRANSPORT. 15/16 April 1941. The Municiple tram service carried on despite Hitler's bombs, which fell both inside and outside this depot in Salisbury Avenue (Antrim Road). AR 172.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. VICTORIA STREET. 4/5 May 1941. Waring Street corner as seen from 'the Albert'. AR 179.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. HARLAND & WOLFF. 4/5 May 1941. Harland and Wolff general view of part of the shipyard, damaged by air raids. AR 103.
Riots : Belfast. October 1969. Women and children form a human chain across the Newtownards Road, Belfast, at Templemore Avenue. The protest lasted about an hour. (18/10/69)
Riots : Belfast. October 1969. Troops stop and search cars at Peter's Hill. (11/10/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A sentry looks on as Labour M.P. Gerry Fitt conducting Labour M.P's from Westminster around the Falls Road area, Belfast. (24/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. September 1969. Troops with arms at the ready face protestants in Percy Street as a crowd of Catholics shout from the Falls Road. (7/9/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Barricades in Divis Street, a man talks to troops over the barricade. (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (20/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Children playing in the sentry box erected by vigilantes at Thames Street, Belfast. The box is used by the residents who guard the street during the hours of darkness. (23/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Buildings reduced to rubble in the riots on the Falls Road in Belfast. 19/8/69
Riots: Belfast. Refugees. Furniture is carried into the schools meals centre in Butler Street as Roman Catholic families move from their homes in the Protestant area of the Crumlin Road. 5/8/1969
Explosions. Attacks on Electricity Service. Castlereagh. The smouldering remains of a transformer at an electricity sub-station in the Cregagh Hills, near Belfast, where an explosion caused ?500,000 damage. 31/3/1969
Reservoirs: Silent Valley. Explosion. Annalong water pipe explosion. 24/4/1969
James Callaghan: Former British PM, deep in thought as he stands in front of one of a row of burnt out houses in Bombay street, Belfast. On the right is Gerry Fitt, MP. 27/8/1969
RIOTS. BELFAST. AUGUST 1969.
RIOTS. BELFAST. AUGUST 1969. A family leaving the sealed-off area, are escorted down Divis Street by troops.
RIOTS. BELFAST. AUGUST 1969. After fierce rioting, the rubble filled Divis Street, reminiscent of the blitz. 15/8/1969
Army in Ulster 1969 | Library file dated 18/08/1969 | Ardoyne, Belfast. Soldier with young boy.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Army take over: a young lady leaves the sealed off area passing through the barricades in Divis Street. 16/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. ARTHUR STREET. April/May 1941. Arthur Street, as senn from Donegall Place. The gap has been created by the destruction of Messrs. Brand's (Ulster Arcade) Emporium.. AR 12
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. BELFAST TELEGRAPH. April/May 1941. Belfast Telegraph offices boarded up and Central Library on Royal Avenue. AR 22
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. BRIDGE STREET. 4/5 May. Bridge Street/High Street. AR 30.
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS. BRIDGE STREET. 4/5 May 1941. Bridge Street from High Street. AR 31
WORLD WAR II: BELFAST AIR RAIDS.BRIDGE STREET. 4/5 May 1941. Bridge Street from North Street. AR 32
Belfast City Hall. Donegall Square. Under construction in 1906
The collapse of the central arches of the Albert Bridge. 15/9/1886
The Albert Bridge. 15/1/1932
Spectators gather to view the Albert Bridge after the collapse of the central arches in 1886
Belfast City Hall. Donegall Square. As it looked in 1930 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Belfast City Hall. Donegall Square. In 1912
The interior of Belfast City Hall.
The interior of Belfast City Hall. 18/8/1939
The interior of Belfast City Hall.
The interior of Belfast City Hall.
The interior of Belfast City Hall.
Belfast City Hall. Donegall Square. Under construction in 1906. The statue of Queen Victoria already in place. BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
The interior of Belfast City Hall. 1951
City Hall from Wellington Place, Belfast. 5/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
The Plattermen. 26/5/1965
A beacon of Belfast night-life, dancers arriving at the Plaza in its heyday. 15/10/1965
The Plaza Ballroom in its heyday. 14/9/1967
The Nevada Showband, featuring the vivacious Kelley. 22/2/1973
The Miami Showband pose for the camera. 4/6/1972
" This is how you do it." Three Randalstown fans get some quick tuition on "The Hucklebuck" from members of the Royal Showband. From left: Alice O'hara, Ballygrooby; Brendan Bowyer, Margaret O'Hara, Ballygrooby; Ed Sullivan, Betty McKeown, Hook's Lane, and Tom Dunphy. 18/2/1965
The Freshmen. 27/10/1966
The Indians, one of Ireland's leading showbands. 14/8/1980
Big Tom and the mighty Mainliners. 11/12/1972
Showbands legend Dave Glover. 20/9/1968
The legendary Glenn Miller and his orchestra playing to a devoted audience at a wartime gig.
Brendan Bowyer does "The Fly" with two dancers who will be touring with the Rpyal Showband. 22/4/1966
Cliff Richard:British Pop Singer. in Belfast. 30/10/1964
A visitor's view perhaps of Belfast at night, as seen from a bedroom in the Royal Avenue Hotel. 9/11/1966
The hysterical crowd of teenagers which greeted the Bay City Rollers when they performed in Belfast's New Vic Cinema 25/4/1975
WORLD FAMOUS BOY SOPRANO BILLY NEELY
MCBURNEY'S PREMIER RECORD STORE AND SMITHFIELD MARKET
The demolition of the old Post Office, in Royal Avenue, to make way for a new shopping complex. 11/7/1985
Mc Glade's Pub. Donegall Street, Belfast.
James Johnston. Belfast Tenor. 'The Belfast Butcher.' 21/2/1945
Young starlet Ruby Murray, pictured in the Belfast Telegraph offices. March 1955
Belfast city centre, looking towards the City Hall and the hills beyond. 25/4/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Belfast City Hall, composite photographs showing approaches. 26/6/1948 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
City Hall, south side, Belfast 3/11/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Statue of Queen Victoria in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast. 5/1/1943 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Belfast Castle. February 1937 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
St. Anne's Cathedral, with Miss Praeger working on the figure of Solomon on the Pillar of Wisdom. 18/6/1928 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Outside St. Anne's Cathedral Mr. W.D. Hoskins, ARICS. and Mr. T.J. Rushton FRIBA a partner of Sir Charles Nicholson, cathedral architect with the Dean of Belfast, Very Reverend R.C.H.Elliot. 18/9/1947 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Presbyterian Assembly Buildings and Church House, Gt. Victoria St. Belfast 24/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Clifton St. Belfast. 13/5/1949 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
New' Petty Sessions Court, Victoria St. Belfast. 27/4/1943 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Albert Bridge Road looking from Templemore Avenue citywards. 2/9/1943 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Building a roundabout at the junction of Ravenhill Road, Albert Bridge Road and Madrid St. 10/9/1948 Belfast Telegraph Collection/NMNI
Anne St. and Arthur Square, Belfast. 11/10/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square North and East. Belfast. 26/7/1948 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square South and West. Belfast 3/11/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Dublin Road. Belfast. 7/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
High Street, Belfast, looking towards the Albert Clock. 24/2/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Lisburn Road, at Malone Avenue, Belfast. 3/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Sandy Row, from Donegall Road looking towards Lisburn Road. Belfast. 10/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Shaftesbury Square looking towards Gt. Victoria St. and Dublin Road, Belfast. 12/11/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Bedford St. Belfast. 6/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Belmont St. Woodstock Road, Belfast. 3/2/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Bloomfield Road, Belfast, looking towards the Beersbridge Road. 1/12/1947 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
High St. from Castle Place. Belfast 20/2/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Palm House in Botanic Gardens, Belfast. 7/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Grand Opera House, The Hippodrome (Odeon), and The Ritz (ABC). In the foreground is a motorcycle and sidecar and a jeep. 5/10/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Exterior of King's Hall, Balmoral. 21/4/1949 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
G.N.R. railway terminus at Belfast 16/12/1937 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Looking along the Albert Bridge to The East Bridge Street Power Station. 2/9/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Painting of Andrew Mulholland, founder of York Street Flax Spinning Company 4/4/1945 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Building of the Sydenham by-pass, a workman using a frog hammer. 25/10/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMN
Shipyard workers watching the launch of the "Canberra". 11/3/1960 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Shankill Road at Canmore St.looking citywards, Belfast. 17/11/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Victoria Square, Belfast, from Victoria Street. Davis & Co. automobile engineers, Cantrell & Cochrane factory. 24/8/1939 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Victoria Square, Belfast, with Cantrell & Cochrane delivery lorry. 3/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Wilson's Court, Belfast. A narrow alley between High Street and Ann Street. Sign for "Lavery's". Gas bracket lamp. 16/5/1941 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Corner of North Street and Waring Street, Belfast. The Belfast Bank head office (formerly The Northern Bank). 22/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Old clothes market, Smithfield, Belfast. 5/1/1937 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Cattle pens at The Great Northern Railway Station, Belfast, from the Albert Bridge. 2/9/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Mater Hospital, Crumlin Road, Belfast. 15/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, from the Grosvenor Road. 21/9/1925BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Chichester St. looking towards Donegall Square North. Belfast. 3/1/1941 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Chichester St. from Victoria St. junction. Belfast. 3/5/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square East, Showing a row of parked cars. Belfast 10/9/1928 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square East, with air raid shelters, from the roof of the Robinson & Cleaver building, Belfast. Top of photo cut of by the censor. 22/9/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square North from the roof of the City Hall. Air raid shelters in City Hall grounds. Belfast 15/9/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Donegall Square North. Belfast 23/1/1946 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Arthur St. looking towards Arthur Sq. and Cornmarket. 27/4/1943 BELFAST TELEGRAPH COLLECTION/NMNI
Belfast, City Hall and surrounding area. Aerial Photograph. 17/8/1929 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Stormont.Belfast. 24/10/1947 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Stormont, painted black with pitch to camouflage it.Trolley bus no. 26. Belfast. 26/3/1942 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE/NMNI
Smithfield market, Belfast.Young boy in a shop selling household furniture lamps and bric a brac. 26/11/1941
The stitching room of the Belfast Collar Company
Albion limited Group. Machine Department Albion Ltd Belfast 1919
Yardmen busy themselves bottling gas. 30/6/1934
On a tour of the gasworks our photographer is shown the Interior Gaosmeter. 27/4/1934
Linen Industry:Plain Weaving Shop, Brookfield Factory. 3/3/1939
Linen/ Warping, York Street Factory.
Linen/ winding weft yarn. York St. Factory.
Linen, Damask weaving shot. Brookfield factory. York St factory.
Linen Industry:View of Weaving Room, York Street Factory.
Linen Industry:Wet Spinning, York Street Mill.
Albion limited Group. The visit of H.R.H. the Duke Of Gloucester to Albion Ltd Clothing maufacturers Belfast,29th May 1934
Manhattan Beauty Salon, Corn Market. Female customers having their hair styled. 7/5/1940
On a visit to the Gasworks an employee demonstrates the Coal Gripper (The feed system of a coal getting combine, which works with a face conveyor, comprises: a traction device located on the combine and having a cylinder-shaped sprocket on the side surface of which a circular spherical-shaped recess is provided, slots being made on both inner sides of the spherical recess, said slots having an involute-spherical surface) 20/1/1938
Saw repair shop, McMasters, Church Lane. 19/11/1945
Weaving and winding training school at Ewart's factory. Pupils at work in the classroom. 29/1/1948
The Countess Granville, wife of the Ulster Governor and sister of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, cutting ribbon to open childrens play centre at Bessbrook. 15/9/1945
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, visit to Northern Ireland 1945. Arriving in Belfast, being recieved by Lord Londonderry at Assembly Hall for degree ceremony at Queens. 14.9.1945
James Magennis:Ulsterman awarded The Victoria Cross (VC). Belfastman decorated for his heroic actions onboard the X.E.11 Midget Submarine returning from the attack on a japanese cruiser. James Magennis with Lord Mayor Sir Crawford McCullagh at a civic reception in Belfast in 1945.
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, visit to Northern Ireland 1945. Arriving in Belfast and being greeted at the City Hall by Sir Crawford McCullagh. 14/9/1945.
BBC's Radio entertainer, Mr Gillie Potter, pictured here in Belfast. 17/2/1948
Hon. Edward Carson, son of late Lord Carson of Duncairn, and his wife arriving for the Unionist Council meeting. 19/2/1948
Lady Carson, widow of Lord Carson of Duncairn, and Lady Brooke, at Stormont House. 17/2/1948
Sir Malcolm Sargent, Conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with his hosts, the P.M., Lord Brookeborough, and Lady Brooke, at Stormont. 24/6/1947
Sir Arnold McNair, Judge of the Court of International Justice at the Hague, with Lady McNair and Professor J. L. Montrose. 22/10/1947
The stitching room of the Belfast Collar Company
Rabbi Jacob Shachter, Rabbi Belfast, Rabbi Dr I. Herzog, Chief Rabbi elect of the Holy Land, and Mr J Hurwitz at Belfast railway station. 15/3/1937
Craftsmen finish work on the Royal Courts of Justice, Oxford Street, Belfast, under the watchful of Lord Craigavon. 14/4/1933
The opening of the Royal Courts of Justice, Oxford Street, Belfast. 31/5/1933
Stonemasons finish work on the outside of the Royal Courts of Justice, Oxford Street, Belfast. April 1933
Aerial of Belfast Harbour, Thompson Wharf. 12/8/1937
Belfast Custom House, Custom House Square, Belfast. 28/1/1930
Belfast Custom House, Custom House Square, Belfast. 14/4/1928
Belfast Harbour, The Quay's at the turn of the twentieth century.
The construction of the Albert Memorial, dating back yo 1867.
The interior of Belfast City Hall.
The interior of Belfast City Hall. The vault and storeroom at City Hall. 5/1/1934
Belfast City Hall. Donegall Square. Under construction in 1903. The Earl of Glasgow unveiling the statue of Sir Edward J Harland in the grounds of the new City Hall.

"She didn't know where he was but she could hear the wee cry and she was telling me to shout for help which I did."

She said a man arrived to help. "I don't know whether he was an air raid warden but he had a helmet on and I said 'help me mummy'.

"He came in and managed to get my mum out but she only had half her dress on because the other half was left under the rubble. As the warden kept shouting 'come on, come on' she said she wouldn't leave without her son.

"He shouted 'mum don't leave me'. He was very frightened. I can still hear his voice." After the family was rescued they moved to Drumquin in Co Tyrone.

A number of penny coins Mrs Fyffe had been saving were pulled from the wreckage and these are the only objects from their home which survived the bombing.

She added: "It was all our pennies from our money boxes. Everything we got we put in our money boxes to save up."

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