A FORMER parish councillor spoke of how he nearly died in his Anderson shelter after a bomb hit his home during the Second World War.

Tiptree resident Robert Long, 85, was only ten years old when he experienced the fear of waking up to a huge explosion in the shelter at Clapton on the day of the D-Day Landings in June 1944.

Mr Long, along with his family, saw first hand the effects of the first flying ‘doodlebug’ bombs. He said: “As children, we had all stood in the street watching the sky black with aircraft on the morning of June 6, 1944.

“Then shortly afterwards the first flying bombs started to arrive in the East of London.

“I was ten years old and was sleeping in the top bunk of the Anderson shelter.

“My mother, father and baby brother Bernard, aged one, had gone back into the house.

“The flying bomb hit the Anderson shelter in the next garden, killing the young girl there.

“The huge explosion woke me up and as I sat up in the bunk, I watched the nine-inch brick wall blast and wooden door disintegrate in slow motion.

“Luckily for me the Anderson shelter was sideways on to the huge blast.If the door had been facing the blast I would not be here.”

Half his house had disappeared with just the three floors left - it looked like a doll’s house.

After the bombing Mr Long moved to South Wales. He suffered recurring nightmares and developed a stammer which stayed with him until his late teens.

The bombing he was in killed 80 people according to records he found in Hackney.

He added: “It is only when looking at pictures do I realise how lucky my family and I were that morning. A ten-year-old child should never have seen all that I witnessed. I will have a special memory to celebrate having been saved by the Anderson shelter when many people died. Now my 86th birthday on June 21 will have the special significance of 75 years of added life which I can say I have made the most of, as I realised I had been given the gift of a future.”