Readers are moved by Jonathan Freedland’s account of his grandmother’s death in a rocket attack on London towards the end of the second world war
There cannot be many of us left who were there on that fateful day when the last V2 rocket to land on London destroyed Hughes Mansions on Vallance Road, killing 134 people, including Jonathan Freedland’s grandmother (When a bomb falls, its impact is felt for generations. I know that from my own family’s trauma, 18 March). I lived with my parents in a council flat some 100 yards from Vallance Road – it was 8 o’clock in the morning and I was getting ready for school. The explosion was a horrendous shock; I was just 13 and had been through most of the blitz. My route to school was about 25 yards from the site. We found the best night shelter in a deep unused underground station in Whitechapel.
Like Jonathan’s family, we had our own tragedy: my father’s cousin was killed, but there was no funeral – not a single identifiable body part could be found. The trauma is seared into the memory. However, we were much better off than the Ukrainians – we did have water, electricity and rationed essentials.