Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother



Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother


Writes that he is still alive despite Lord Haw Haw's broadcast of German bombing attacks on Eastbourne. Mentions damage to nearby buildings. Describes attack by Me 109s including machine gunning and dropping bombs - and how they had to hide from the attack. Bombs were dropped on the railway station and nearby hotel. Mentions Spitfires and Tomahawks patrolling after attack. Mentions other air raid warnings and living under bombed out conditions. The un-exploded bomb in the Cavendish Hotel has not gone off yet but they have found five bodies. Notes types of Me 109 and discusses bombs they could carry. Includes a sketch of how he hid from the attacking aircraft.




Temporal Coverage



Six page handwritten letter


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No 1436220 L.A.C. Akrill.
2 Flight “D” Squadron.
1 E.A.O.S.,
Thursday evening. 7.5.42.
Dear Mum,
In case you listened to Haw-Haw’s 5.45 & other broadcasts I thought I’d better let you know that I’m still alive & unsurrendered. [sic] I believe he claimed that Eastbourne was successfully attacked this afternoon. I suppose he was perfectly right but not much damage was done. This time a bomb fell close by our classroom shattering the windows & demolishing the empty building opposite. Fortunately for our nerves we had left for the Range 20 minutes before. But we
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still got plenty of fun for we were just on the outskirts of the town when we heard m/c guns. Spits had been practicing all day [deleted] but [/deleted] and it took Sgt. Goldinjay quite a few seconds to realise that Spits dont [sic] usually gun the streets & ordered us to take cover as a Me 109F bore down on us with blazing guns. We dived to a grass bank & lay there as he drew nearer. Gosh it was a tense few seconds – we were a perfect target and I expected feeling hot lead any moment & had a strange longing for my tin-hat – still blitzed. However
Just as Jerry was above us he must
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[underlined] 3 [/underlined]
have decided to get rid of his load & made a rather clumsy & as we watched him dive to bomb the station we saw a chance of finding better cover so as bombs crashed & guns rattled we raced across the road, leaped the wall & sheltered behind it beneath the trees. But it was nearly all over then & as we crept out & the Jerries were racing back the warning went. They hit the station again but I don’t know where the other bombs dropped. You lose interest in details after a while. On the range the armaments cpl. & sgt. emptied two pans on them – but without effect. About 10 minutes later the Spitfires which had been messing about
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came back to patrol & a number of tomahawks appeared. There has just been another short warning as a good sized convoy passed but nothing happened. We still get lots of warnings but were safe when they go as they’re then attacking elsewhere on the coast. There was quite a blitz in Brighton direction on Monday night.
Still living under bombed-out conditions – nearly given up hope of getting kit out of the Imperial. Am wearing dirty clothes, no sleep, want a good bath & oh for some food. I though they’d managed well at first but things grow worse & I’ve given up hope of getting meals here & go out for them. Its expensive
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[underlined] 5 [/underlined]
but I feel I must get a good meal.
On Tuesday [deleted] the [/deleted] G.H.Q. got panickey [sic] & a lot of us were to be evacuated to ACRC London that night but after the usual fuss it was cancelled & we look like being here the usual time. I hope so for I don’t like the thought of London again. But I do hope we can get somewhere to live soon I’m fed up with being homeless.
They’re still probing round the Cavendish Hotel & waiting for the bomb to go off. They’ve blown up a lot of it. Five bodies – 3 airmen, a Waaf & a civilian woman were found. The Church had a direct hit on the chancel & was gutted by fire. 2 of the 3 men in the little boat were riddled with bullets. 1 is still
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alive. Expect there’ll be more raids yet but Mes don’t carry very dangerous bombs – 50 pounders. We saw a modern version today the Me 109F The others were Me 109Es. I expect the school will have to evacuate if they keep it up though as they can soon [deleted] put [/deleted] make us short of accomodation. [sic]
Any rain yet? I suppose not. Heat wave here. [deleted] If [/deleted]
If you hear of any more bombing don’t get bothered if you don’t hear from me – short of writing things & nowhere to keep anything. Quite enjoying the excitement but browned off with being bombed out.
Love to all
PS. Afraid I had my 48!!



William Akrill, “Letter from Bill Akrill to his mother,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 23, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18024.

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