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Survivor Alf gets message to kids about wartime civilian disaster

PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:49 05 October 2010

Alf... explaining to youngsters what happened in 1943

Alf... explaining to youngsters what happened in 1943

PENSIONER Alf Morris sat talking to children about the time he was their age and what happened when he was almost crushed to death during a wartime air-raid in London’s East End. The kids were startled to hear about how he was rescued from a stampede in the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid disaster when he was 13. Alf, now 89, was retelling the horrifying story to youngsters at a fundraising Christmas fair on Saturday

Mike Brooke

PENSIONER Alf Morris sat talking to children about the time he was their age and what happened when he was almost crushed to death during a wartime air-raid in London’s East End.

The kids were startled to hear about how he was rescued from a stampede in the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid disaster when he was 13.

Alf, now 89, was retelling the horrifying story to youngsters at a fundraising Christmas fair at Bethnal Green’s Tramshed community centre off Roman Road on Saturday.

Campaigners are raising money for a memorial in Bethnal Green Gardens to the 173 men, women and children crushed to death in the panic for shelter during an air raid in 1943.

“One boy of 13 asked about the children killed in the disaster,” Alf said.

“He was shocked and didn’t realise kids also got killed in the bombing during the war.

“The older children got the message about what a previous generation went through.

“I remember it like it was yesterday–it’s something you never forget.”

The fundraising committee took £830 on Saturday—but with just £60,000 in the kitty so far since the appeal was launched last year, there’s still far to go to reach the £650,000 target for the memorial.

For Alf, however, his crusade was getting the message to a new generation so that London would not forget Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster and what happened at Bethnal Green on the evening of March 3, 1943.


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