For Brenda Percival, the first night of the Sheffield Blitz was when she lost her mum in the terrible Marples Hotel tragedy.
Mabel Dean, who was 30 years old and lived in Attercliffe, worked at the hotel as either a waitress or barmaid, thinks Brenda, who lives in Beighton. “My grandma (Jane Siddall) had a pub, The Carlton on Staniforth Road, so she used to work for her too,” said Brenda.
Sadly, her mum swapped a shift to work on the fateful night of December 12, 1940 when a bomb landed on the hotel in Fitzalan Square, destroying it.
Mabel would have been one of the people sheltering in the hotel’s cellars, that ironically were regarded as a safe place.
Brenda said: “I remember her saying she was doing a favour for somebody. My mum and dad were parted, so she worked.”
Clearly such devastating news had a terrible effect on such a small girl. Brenda said: “I remember walking up and down Attercliffe Road, looking for her. That has stuck in my mind.”
Brenda said that she had had a happy life, although these days the memories of those times coming flooding back more clearly.
She was comforted that her mother is named by the Imperial War Graves Commission as the Marples is regarded as a war grave.
She has also contributed to the Sheffield Blitz Walk Memorial Appeal, so that Mabel’s name will be included on a new memorial plaque that is one of 16 telling the story of the Sheffield Blitz in the city centre.