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Flying Bombs And Rockets


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#1 STEPHENH

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 05:08 PM

:huh:
I am in the process of researching the V1 & V2 campaign and its impact on South East London from June 1944 to March 1945. I have already compiled a considerable amount of material including all locations of all V1 and V2 sites in SE19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27 and SW2.
I am now interested in getting personal recollections of these incidents from anyone who lived through that time. If you have anything to contribute it would be good to get any memories relating to particular incidents in specific locations. I can then match these against the data that I have already acummulated.
Eventually I plan to publish this data on a web site.
Thankyou

#2 phatandlong

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 08:11 PM

Sounds like a very interesting piece of research. Look forward to seeing the website. Please post when it is up and running!!!!

#3 richard moore

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 01:05 AM

An intersting aspect to this is why so many were droped in the local area.

prof. RV Jones who went to Alleyns school ( failed to get inti the College0 was one of the advisors to Churchill. By using the 22 Committee ( German captured spies) they sent back false information saying they were landing too far north of london((( in fact the were landing about on target) The germans believed this and reduced the fuel loads so they all feel short. The joke is the Jones was a great prankster. the fase cordinates that were fed back to germany were the gates of dulwich college the school he failed to get into!!. also to add some credance to the high density of "landings". the present work area by norwood cemetry was a bomb proof building where much of the work on radar was done in conjunction with then local firm Tannoy. ( i believe thery were world leaders at the time of valve manufacture). They still exist up in scotland somewhere but they have many records that may be of use to you and they have somestuff on their web site

I should also read the Jones book on his secret work.He lived in Herne Hill during his youth and I beleve also during the war after he left the Rutherford lab @ cambridge to work for Churchill. I think he is still alive but will be in his eighties by now but he will know all it was his job

#4 STEPHENH

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 06:34 PM

Thankyou Richard some interesting leads there. I knew something of this but this all helps. It certainly seems like the false intelligence worked although my view is that the morals of it were highly dubious. Yes, central london was saved many V1's and V2's , which was good for propaganda but South London (the poorer areas generally) got it very badly. I doubt if the casualty rate would have been higher if central london was hit more often ...maybe...I believe that Herbert Morrison protested against the policy most vigourously asking "who are we to play ***"..
Upper Norwood did do badly, particulary in a line up Central hill starting at Gibbs Square and ending at Highland road (4 V1's) bearing in mind these things could blast across 1/4 mile in each direction the affect must have been terrible. In total I have found 17 V1 sites and no V2 sites in SE19 I would say that some other areas did worse, particulary Penge (SE21)- 19 V1's and 1 V2 in a very small area.
As you can tell I am totally fascinated by the subject so any further leads/information that anyone can add much appreciated.
:)

#5 Chris Doran

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Posted 26 July 2003 - 12:48 AM

Sandi's topic is deviating wildly, so I'll reply here where I should have done when you first asked, but I incorrectly assumed that the following books were well-known.

"Lewis Blake" (a pen-name) wrote three books in the 1980s-90s:-

"Bromley in the Front Line" (1980, revised 1983) covers the whole War throughout the present Bromley Borough. I can't find in it any reference to a V1 in Lennard Road on 30-Jun-1944, but there was one in Cottingham Road on 29th which set fire to Olby's hardware store.

"Bolts from the Blue", 1990, covers SE London V2s. p42 says of the 2-Jan-1945 V2: "Shortly after midday the Midland Bank's sports ground in Lennard Road, Beckenham, was hit, severely damaging the pavilion, slightly damaging New Beckenham Station, and injuring 14 people." and on p45: "... Tuesday 9 January ... a former teacher at Alexandra Road (sic*) Infants School remembers the enormous crash during mid-morning 'play-time'. It rent the air and sent the infants running in panic for cover. Just 500 yards away, a V2 had landed on the sports ground in King's Hall Road, injuring 20 people. The event was only 250 yards from the hit on the Midland Bank's sports ground a week earlier..." * He must mean Alexandra Infants' School in Kent House Road. He doesn't say it was actually hit. There is certainly evidence of damage to the Cator Park area -- before the streams in the park were vandalised by encasing them in concrete, two piers of a missing bridge (shown on pre-war maps) could be seen a little further downstream from the one which now remains. My mum said it had been bombed. Also, 4/6 Aldersmead Rd, once semi-detached, became a detached house, with new flats built on its left, and more new flats and houses further along Kings Hall Road.

"Red Alert", first published in 1982 was revised and expanded in 1992. It originally covered Deptford, Greenwich, Lewisham, and Woolwich, but the 1992 edition added some material relating to Bromley, Bermondsey, Bexley, and Croydon, though he covers only 1943-44 for the last 3. In the summary of V2 incidents on p183 he says there was a V2 on Lennard Rd in the week ending 5-Jan-1945. (BTW, the correct spelling is LeNnard, no matter how many books and maps say otherwise!)

Three other useful books are:-

"Undaunted" Graham Reeves, Bromley Leisure Services, 1990 ISBN 0 901002 10 0. Subtitled "The story of Bromley in the Second World War".

"The Battle of South London", Arthur L Woolf, Crystal Publications, undated. A 16-page leaflet covering V1s in Croydon, Norwood, Penge, Forest Hill, Lewisham, Sydenham, Peckham, and Camberwell, packed with photographs from local papers.

"The Beating of His Wings", John Hook, London, 1995. Subtitled "The Air Raids of the County Borough of Bromley". Based on Commonwealth War Graves Commission Listing of Civilian Dead. This book lists only the bombings which resulted in fatalities, whereas LB includes some more notable non-fatal incidents. CWGC information is now on-line at http://www.cwgc.org/ but it doesn't have a search by location. (Note: the search tends to fail if you give more than one initial.)

All these books seem to have been privately-published/marketed, mostly have no ISBN numbers, and are almost certainly out of print. Beckenham Library has reference copies of all except Woolf's in its local studies room; Penge library only has "Bromley in the Front Line". Beckenham Library also has bound issues of Beckenham Journal for 1941,42,43, and 45.

#6 Sandi

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 03:15 PM

Chris, that's a great list of books; I only wish I had access to them.

Writing books about the history of Penge when one is 3,000 miles away is not easy. I daydream about coming back just for a week or so to do some good, solid research. Or even a couple of days spent in Beckenham library would be great.

Oh well, maybe one day. I'll let you all know when I make it back, and we can meet in the Moon and Stars! :D

#7 STEPHENH

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 03:22 PM

Chris, this is incredibly helpful thankyou. I shall be visiting Beckenham library to get a look at these books.
Perhaps you can help me a little further with my research. You have said there were 2 v2's in the Lennard Road area, I have also read of one between Kingshall and Beckenham Road...and also one "behind Beckenham High st" . Do you know the location of these 2 and I also believe there are a fifth but I have no idea where....can you throw any light on any of these.?
As to the v1 in Lennard Road I picked this up from the FB report but this document, I have found, can be a bit imprecise on areas. I will double check.
Thanks again for this help really,really appreciated.
Stephen

#8 Chris Doran

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:13 AM

"Bolts from the Blue" gives the following for Beckenham in early 1945:-

2-Jan-1945, shortly after midday, V2 on Midland Bank sports ground in Lennard Rd. p42.

5-Jan-1945, 10.26pm, V1 on Fairfield Rd (behind Beckenham High St) destroying 20 houses, severely damaging 35 houses + Christ Church, lesser damage to 176 houses & shops. 13 deaths in Fairfield Rd, Burnhill Rd, and Lea Rd. 32 injured. p43.

9-Jan-1945, mid-morning, V2 on sports ground in King's Hall Rd. p45.

15-Mar-1945, 1.03am, V2 on 73/75 Crystal Palace Park Rd. 9 killed. pp76-77,81. Blake describes the confusion at the time as to which ARP group should attend, and who did, as it was on the border of at least 3 ARP districts.

"Lennard Road area" whould be better stated as "Cator Park area", meaning the one in Lennard Rd on 2-Jan plus the 9-Jan one in King's Hall Rd, i.e. only ever one in LR. So I think the above list accounts for your "5 V2s", one having become a V1.

Allow plenty of time for reading Lewis Blake's books they really need to be read cover-to-cover with a calendar in hand to keep track of where you are. Dipping into them is liable to lead to mistakes. I too will be putting the bombing details onto a database (SE20 and a bit of Beckenham only) so perhaps we can save one another some typing?

The Bromley ARP records are supposed to exist somewhere, I believe they're at Bromley Museum in Orpington.

#9 STEPHENH

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 07:18 AM

Chirs thanks again,
It is good to be able to chat about these issues.most of my freinds give me a glazed look if I mention the subject. Yes I am very keen to share information but I am not sure that this is the forum for it. I think the good folk of Virtual Norwood may get a little distracted with non Norwood chat and the escoterics of the V weapon campaign.
I did try and mail you using the E mail button on the board but your spam filter defeated me.
If you are happy to get in E mail contact can you hit the E mail contact button, I only use a low level filter so you should get through !.
If you would prefer to communicate via the board then post a message back here.
I look forwood to hearing from you and exchanging lots of information. Apart from this I would also be keen to hear what your areas of local studies includes.
Kind regards
Stephen

#10 Sandi

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 10:33 AM

If you do continue this thread off VN, you won't forget to post your research website when it's up, will you?

#11 STEPHENH

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 10:41 AM

Sandi, I promise I wont...If you want to contact me by mail at any time please feel free to press the button!
It did occur to me that I may stress may have another contact for you. (this is a bit complex)! My sister has a freind whos father (who happened to know my mother) went to Beckenham & Penge Grammar during the war. Now I dont know even if he is still alive but I am seeing my sister tomorrow and I will ask her...you never know. I have started to talk to my Auntie about Beckenham in that period. Its a slow process and I dont really want to suddenly present her with bombs ! but watch this space I may be able to come back with some info for you soon !
Kind regards
Stephen

#12 wintrev

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:37 PM

In reply to STEPHENH regarding doodlebug recollections - this information might be of some use.
In the summer of 1944 I was an 11 year old schoolboy living in Estcourt Road South Norwood SE25. A doodlebug cut out and dived into the rear garden of No 34
just missing the Woodside to London railway line flattening many houses and causing the deaths of several members of the Barnett family.- Bobby my best friend his mother sister and grandparents. His father was away serving in the RAF and his older sister was working in London.

Apparently they managed to get into their anderson shelter but were unable to get the blast door closed. I lived on the other side of the Road, My family and I dived under the stairs when we heard the doodlebug screaming down - my father had reinforced the staircase with 4x2 timbers - this was thought to be the safest part of the house. Our front door was blown into the Hallway trapping us in until 2 Canadian soldiers helped us out unscathed.
Only 12 days later another doodlebug hit Estcourt Road exactlly opposite on the other side of the Road causing extensive damage But no casualties as the houses were so badly damaged they were uninhabited. The plumbing in our house was still working so we were allowed to stay although the sky was clearly visible through the roof and most of our windows were broken.

#13 STEPHENH

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 05:40 PM

Hi, thankyou very much for this. I have now set up my own web site
www.flyingbombsandrockets.com which is all about the V1's and V'2 and specifically What happened in South London. I have started to record some experiences of South Londoners and may I have your permissions please to use your recollections ?
Thankyou very much indeed
Kind regards
Stephen

#14 lucysmith

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 10:29 AM

When I was researching the history of my house in Maley Avenue I came across a record of a crater in No 8's garden. Not sure what type of bomb made it, I can go and check the info. Also the moldings above the windows of No 1 and 2 Maley Ave are missing due to a bomb dropped nearby (they were trying to hit Tulse Hill railway station). Also, a neighbour who had lived in the street for 40-50 years told me that a bomb landed on Elmcourt Rd (where the school is). Incidentally, this site also used to be an old gravel pit.

#15 STEPHENH

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 08:57 AM

In reply to Lucy,
all information greatfully received !
Im not sure wether this relates to a V1 or not. (Im not What the crater in no 8's garden is.) What I do know is that a V1 fell in the Norwood Road around the Railway bridge area. The V1's used to cause blast damage across a 1/4 mile radius so it is highly possible that the missing moldings you refer to in Maley Avenue are as a result of this. If you are interested in the V1's/V2's in the area my website at www.flyingbombsandrockets.com carries details.
Also if you want to find out more about bombings in your road/area the London Metropolitan Archive in Camberwell have fantastic large scale maps which show the degree of damage and type of bomb down to building level.
Regards
Stephen