What would you do if a bomb landed on your house in the middle of the night? Over the past few months, a team of volunteers has been busy indexing the series HO 250: Interdepartmental Committee on Civil Defence Gallantry Awards, and in doing so they have unearthed some extraordinary tales of bravery during the Second World War.
One story was that of Mrs Halle of north Kensington, who was mentioned in the London Gazette on 31 January, 1941, p 612, for brave conduct in Civil Defence. The exploits of Mrs Halle were brought to the notice of the committee by R C Jenkins, Mayor of Kensington in his letter dated 17 January 1941:
‘I should like to bring to your notice the following act of resource and courage of an old lady of 95 during the air raid on Saturday 11 January.
“She is Mrs Lillian Halle of 95 Chesterton Road, North Kensington W 10 and she lives on the first floor at this address. During the raid she went out of her room and saw a blaze on the top floor from an incendiary bomb. She took upstairs sand and later water, and proceeded to put out the fire. Only when it was out did she go to the street door and ask for help.
“I feel this old lady showed great bravery and presence of mind and set all of us a splendid example. If her deed could in any way receive official recognition or commendation it would be a well deserved and popular reward.’
(Catalogue reference HO 250/11/578)