75th Anniversary of the Blitz on Coventry


My Father John  Flaherty (snr) Jack to all who knew him, was born of Irish Parents in Leeds.

He was a Thespian by calling and appeared with the D’oyly Carte Opera and was as a young man involved with the Hall of Varieties in Leeds.

When war broke out he came to Warwick and lodged in Compton Street. He worked at Cornercroft which at the time was in Queens Road (I think) it later moved when the centre of Coventry was being rebuilt to the other side of the ring road near the Station. It was during this time he met my mother Dorry Sherrington, a police sergeants daughter and they lived at 2 Stratford Road in Warwick.

Dad was a metal spinner and was involved for most of the war in making nose cones for the propeller of many types of aircraft. He would each morning either walk from the centre of Warwick to Milverton Station to catch the train into Coventry. Two nights a week he was required to pass the night on the factory roof fire watching. It was on the roof that he witnessed the bombing of the City. He never told me much about that night.

After the British went into North Africa he was excused fire watching duties. In his younger days he had trained with the St Johns Ambulance Brigade, he always said that it got him into football matches for free!

Two nights a week after finishing work in Coventry he went to Warwick Station to catch the ambulance train to either Portsmouth or Southampton. He could sleep and rest on the train south, but on the way back he treated the wounded, until they arrived in Warwick, where the sick were taken either to Stoneleigh Abbey, or Warwick Hospital. I always thought that the train must have used Warwick station, but have recently discovered that it used the freight sidings to the north of the station, near the Cape Road Bridge. After the sick had been removed they tidied up the train and then went off to their day jobs.

My Dad was an ordinary bloke, and like many ordinary blokes the just got on with it. Remember they were not getting a lot of food; you look at the rations available to an adult. A week’s ration might last most of us a day or two.

The thing that really get to me is the fact that the service these civilians gave was open-ended, if any of us has to work extra shifts of cover for holidays or colleagues being sick. We know it is for a few days or weeks. For these people during the war it was till the end of the war, no matter how long it took. This weekend lets remember the ordinary folk who helped win the war.


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