South Shields woman tells how hero dad saved her from German bullets

The crew in the cockpit of a Heinkel bomber.
The crew in the cockpit of a Heinkel bomber.

Our account of the Germans’ attack on the South Tyneside coast on August 15, 1940, has stirred a lot of memories for Time Of Our Lives’ readers.

One of them, Dorothy Wilson, of Whitburn, vividly recalls the day – and the moment her dad saved her from enemy fire.

A German Heinkel bomber.

A German Heinkel bomber.

These are her words...

“I got a great surprise when I opened the Gazette and saw the article.

“It was only on Sunday that I was talking to my family about how my dad had saved my life, aged three years old. I am now nearly 79.

“We were remembering how my dad, Jimmy Thompson, would have been 100 years old on August 15, 2015.

“My dad was a boatswain in the Merchant Navy, and when he heard all the noise of planes and what-have-you, he decided to sit on the cliff-tops to watch them. They used to scream over the sky.

“When we came out of my nana’s house, at 13 North Street, Marsden, we were walking towards the cut, only a few feet away, when we heard the guns firing.

“It was bullets from the German guns. He came down North Street, very low.

“My dad flung me behind a wall and spread-eagled behind me. It was quick thinking on my dad’s part.”

Mrs Thompson said the German plane had come over the sea, with British fighter planes behind it, and all were engaged in a dog-fight.

“It was nice to watch others firing on the Germans.”

“In the meantime, my mam and nana came out of the cut screaming, and thinking that we would be injured or worse, but we were okay.

“This happened on my dad’s birthday, August 15, 1940. He would have been 25 years old at the time – and he was my hero.

“I am keeping a copy of your page for my family to read.

“To read this in the paper within a couple of days of his birthday is marvellous. It brought back a lot of memories.”

Mrs Thompson, who despite (or as she believes, because of the incident), has had a life-long love of aeroplanes, says her dad served on a number of merchant ships.

“The ones I remember are the Shomong and the Westburn.

“He was torpedoed when serving on one of them and went to America where he stayed for six weeks before he came home.”

Thank you Mrs Thompson for your wonderful memories, and kind comments about the column.