The daughter of the original owner of The Bungalow Café in Wanstead returned to her former home this month, speaking about her memories of the Blitz with reporter Douglas Patient.

Betty Jones, now 85, was 8-years-old when her father, Sidney Godly, opened a sweet shop in 1938 on the site of the café in Spratt Hall Road.

But two years later, a year into the war with Nazi Germany, the shop was converted into The Bungalow Café providing meals for a Royal Engineers Corp which was stationed in Wanstead.

Mrs Jones, speaking on her first visit back to Wanstead since moved to Cornwall in 1968, said: “A lot of Royal Engineers occupied several houses in New Wanstead.

“The café became a second home for them and many of them visited in the evening for a meal, it had a family feeling about the place.

“It hasn’t changed much.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Wanstead Church School's running team in the 1930s, Betty pictured third from left.

That very year, the Blitz was to batter London.

Between September 1940 and May 1941, around 60 bombs fell on Wanstead, with anti-aircraft guns stationed on Wanstead Flats.

Mrs Jones’s father, Sidney, worked as a voluntary fireman and she remembers one of the Sunday night of September 8 when east London was bombed for eight and a half hours.

She said: “I knew dad was working to help people and he still hadn’t returned in the morning so I didn’t know whether he was dead or alive.

“I remember standing outside the cafe and my dad and his team eventually came around the corner, they were all covered in soot as black as the ace of spades.

“He never talked about what he saw and did and we never asked him about it.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Betty (right) with her sister Audrey, three years younger, in the 1950s.

Mrs Jones, 10 at the time and attending Wanstead Church School, surprisingly remembers being excited rather than worried by the spectacle.

She spoke of seeing dogfights between Spitfires and a Messerschmitts in the skies above Wanstead.

She said: “It is terrible for me to say but I loved it and it was an exciting time, I used to watch from the top of the steps of the bomb shelter.

“Bombs were dropping all over the place and there were thousands of airplanes in the air, loud noises and bright lights.

“My father built a bomb shelter in the garden which was dank and dark and weeks went by when sirens were going every night all night.”

Though the reality of the situation hit home when a bomb destroyed 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 New Wanstead, killing three women including one she knew well.

Mrs Jones said: “Mrs Kingsley was well known in Wanstead and it was terrible, I don’t think I fully understood at the time but it was very sad.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Friends and family of the Godlys, Betty pictured in the middle with dark hair, in the garden of The Bungalow in the 1950s.

The MP for Wanstead and Woodford at the time was the Prime Minister himself Winston Churchill, who was seen regularly in the Conservative Club in the current Manor House pub.

She said: "I have nothing bad to say about him, we all called him Winny and he was like a celebrity to all of us in Wanstead.

"We were proud that he was our MP and he got us out of the mess of the Blitz and the war."

In 1968, Mrs Jones and her husband sold her house in Voluntary Place for £6,950, a tidy profit as they had bought it for just over £1,000 in 1953.

Though houses in the same street fetch up to £900,000 now.

Her father Sidney died aged 92 in 1993.