The Netmaker

"The Netmaker" the story follows four families who are all linked in some way to the Wilkinsons Lemonade Factory that was bombed during WW2. This is a tribute to the 107 people who lost their lives on 3rd May 1941

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When daylight came the bodies of the dead were brought out with the living and the horror of it all became all apparent. The staring eyes of the dead children some whose clothes had been completely blown off. Some of the bodies were unrecognisable and could only be identified by clothing or the colour of their hair. Many families were lost that night as the final death toll reached 107. A temporary morgue was set up in Church way where surviving members went to identify the bodies. It was a harrowing sight.

The bombing of Wilkinson’s Lemonade Factory was the worst disaster that North Shields had ever witnessed. There was a mass funeral in Preston Cemetery and the whole town turned up to pay their respects.

The bombing of towns and cities across Britain was meant to cause chaos and panic amongst it’s occupants but in fact large communities came together as one in grief. They showed their courage, unity, and resilience during times of crisis.

 

May 4th 1941

Sam, Eric and Phil, woke up and got ready for school unaware that they were only yards away from the disaster. They had gone to the boys club that night to play football and came out after nine o’clock. An ARP warden told them to get in doors and they ran all the way home because they had to keep their money for some chips.’

Sam heard the air raid warning during the night but just stayed in his bed like his brother.

At school the next morning there was a special assembly called. The headmaster Mr Harold Jackson asked for silence as they remembered the dead from what had taken place in the heart of the town. After lunch Sam, Eric, and Phil ran down into the town to see for themselves the enormity of the disaster.

“Bloody hell said Eric look at it; we could have been buried amongst that lot.’

“Aye we were lucky that the Gerry’s waited until midnight or we might have been hit an aal.’ “Phil said it’s a good job we left when we did; my mother would have killed me if I’d been in there.’

“Come on, we had better get back or we will miss our art lesson.’

The photographers were out taking pictures as the boys ran back to school. During the lesson they were telling everyone what they had seen. Sam painted a picture as a tribute to the victims which was put up in the hall. There was a subdued atmosphere in the school that day as many children had lost Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.

The Newspapers were full of stories from survivors who retold the events of May 3rd

1941. Along side the story was a full list of the 107 victims.

 

 

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