Barbara Bittle

A very young child born at the beginning of the Second World War, Barbara only much later understood the significance of her father’s role in the disaster. Police Sergeant Richard Sharrock, based at Bethnal Green Police station, was on duty that night. He was sent to the underground station where he was one of the team moving bodies from the steps.

Read the interview SUMMARY online below, or click on the icon to read or download: barbara bittle SUMMARY.pdf

The summary gives timed sections which direct you to specific parts of the recording.

 

Click on the icon to read or download the complete TRANSCRIPT: barbara bittle TRANSCRIPT.pdf

 

You can listen to the recorded INTERVIEW below:

Summary

 

Interviewee/s:

Barbara Bittle

Interviewer/s:

Dvora Liberman, Caroline Randall

Date of Interview:

22 October 2013

Location:

 

Length of interview:

37 minutes

Any other info:

 

 

Time:

 

0:00

 

1:30

 

 

 

2: 20

 

 

 

 

5:30

 

 

7:00

 

 

9:45

 

 

 

 

17:00

 

 

19:00

 

 

21:30

 

 

23:00

 

25:20

 

 

 

 

0:00

 

 

 

 

07.40

Summary:

 

Introduction: Barbara was born in April 39 in Leytonstone at her family home.

 

Barbara knew about her father's role in the disaster early on, but learned about the memorial when her son, who lives in Bethnal Green, brought home one of the flyers asking for donations for the Memorial Trust.

 

Barbara's father was a police sergeant who helped clear the injured and dead from the tube station. He didn't speak much about it later and became very ill as a result, and Barbara learned about the details from her mother. She doesn't recall him receiving any form of support.

 

Barbara's father later died of bowel cancer, which she links to his trauma-induced  illness after the disaster.

 

Barbara remembers the war years more generally, and about the time her family spent in evacuation in Lancashire.

 

Barbara speaks about how her parents met and built a life together. Her mother found it difficult to make friends when moving to London and felt isolated and depressed. Her father joined the police to follow his engineering career, but wasn't cut out for the job and changed professions in his forties.

 

Barbara pieced together little pieces of information about the disaster as a child, as her parents didn't like to speak about it.

 

Barbara speaks about the way she and her brother were affected by the aftermath of the disaster, mainly through the trauma her parents had suffered.

 

Barbara remembers the relief and celebration at the end of the war, but recalls her family dynamics still being troubled.

 

Barbara speaks about her memories of her grandmothers, both very strong women.

 

She speaks about her marriage and young family in the 1960s, her divorce and meeting her new partner.

 

Part 2

 

Barbara tells the story of how she first heard about the memorial being set up; how delighted she was when she discovered her father’s name would be on the memorial. She discusses the importance of the memorial for younger generations, and the memorial design. She regularly attends the memorial services.

 

Recording ends