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Mum remembers Dolly Warrington from 1943 Bethnal Green disaster

PUBLISHED: 17:05 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 05 October 2010

Dear Editor, THE names of the 173 men, women and children who were tragically killed in the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943 were published recently by Tower Hamlets council which was a wonderful tribute to their memory. Doris 'Dolly' Warrington was one of those names

Dear Editor,

THE names of the 173 men, women and children who were tragically killed in the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943 were published recently by Tower Hamlets council which was a wonderful tribute to their memory.

Doris 'Dolly' Warrington was one of those names.

She was a close friend of both my mother, whose single name was Henrietta 'Minksy' Agombar, and her younger sister Marie Agombar, my aunt, who would often visit the sisters' home in Jersey-street, Bethnal Green, which used to run alongside the Duke of York public house. They also attended Wolverley Street School, which has long since disappeared.

All three were evacuated together to Little Saxham, a small Suffolk village near Bury St Edmunds, Minksy and Marie to a farmhouse and Dolly to the vicarage.

But they were back in East London in the early evening of March 3, 1943, standing under the railway arch in Bethnal Green Road when the air-raid siren went off.

Naturally, my mum and her sister wanted to go with their parents, who always sheltered under the railway arches behind the Salmon & Ball pub which backed onto Gales Gardens. It goes without saying that Dolly wanted to join her parents, who normally sheltered in Bethnal Green Tube station.

The teenagers being good friends, wanted to stay together and each begged the other to go with them. A 'tug of war' ensued and skirts and sleeves were pulled and arms dragged, and so on.

When the terrifying noise of the AKAK gun sounded suddenly in nearby Bethnal Green Gardens, a sound they had never before heard, Marie and Dolly both took flight in fear.

Marie to the railway arches and my mum stood by the gate to the arches and watched Dolly run up to the Salmon & Ball and disappear round the corner. She never saw her again.

Later, when the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) wardens were bringing the dead up to the surface, my granddad who had, incidentally, help build the new Tube station, would not let his daughters look.

Doris Warrington was 16 years old. She lived in Blythe-street, off Bethnal Green Road (which was redeveloped many years ago to make way for a supermarket and block of flats).

My mum cannot remember too much about Dolly as her memory is fading.

But she does remember that she was a lovely girl who looked like the Queen in her teens, only blonde. My mum appeared in a TV documentary a few short years ago about the disaster.

This is the story of how one of the victims happened to be at Bethnal Green Underground station on that dreadful night.

But, of course, there are 172 other stories.

Linda Copeland

Baxendale-street, Bethnal Green

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