Sheffield man recalls his experiences during the Blitz, and his father's role fighting fires on The Moor

A local man recalled his experience during the Sheffield Blitz and his father’s job fighting the fires more than 80 years ago.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 4:00 pm
Jack Pardon (top row, second from the right) with the rest of the intake unit, circa 1942.

Jack Pardon, aged 87 and raised in Gleadless, was seven years old during the Sheffield Blitz and his firefighter father, Joseph Pardon worked for days to tackling blazes on The Moor.

Joseph joined the fire service when war broke out in 1939 and was sent across the country during other Blitz attacks including Bootle and Beverly.

Jack said: “When the alarm system went he would go out, my mother put me under the table because she didn’t believe in the air raid shelters. You were scared that a bomb could come down on you. It was such a relief when you could hear the all clear. It was a harrowing experience, there was no pleasure in it, no excitement.

Joseph in his front garden wearing his medals. He had just won second prize for best garden.

"My dad went out on 12th December and he was gone for five days. “When he came home the wellingtons he had been wearing had fused to his feet and my mum couldn’t pull them off. His socks had been eaten off to the ankle by sweat.”

During the Sheffield Blitz, over 660 people were killed, more than 3,000 houses were completely destroyed and over 78,000 homes received some damage.

Jack added: "My parents had just bought me toys for me for Christmas from Redgates and that got a direct hit - there were no toys left at all.

"It took the squads about 48 hours to get Walsh’s (department store) under control.

Joseph Pardon in his firefighter uniform circa 1942.

"The Germans went up and down the Moor systematically bombing it. “There are two theories - one is that they mistook The Moor for the steelworks.

"The other, which I believe, is that Goerring had promised to quickly bomb us into submission and Hitler wanted to keep the steelworks for what they would give him once he got here.”

The only injury Joseph suffered during the Blitz was a steel nail through his foot.

Sadly, in a cruel twist of fate, on April 25, 1944, Joseph died attending to a cupboard fire when the fire engine crashed and caught fire.

Jack Pardon aged 6, circa 1939.

Jack said: “I still think about him all these years later.

"He got through all the bombing and then got killed going to a cupboard fire.”