Well at least I think it is…..!
Some months ago I came across an article in the ‘Guardian’; another of the worlds rags that I peruse regularly, and I was quite fascinated by it; one of the few who is probably.
It was titled ‘Bomb Sight – Mapping the WW2 census and entitled “Explore the London Blitz during 7th October 1940 to 6th June 1941. The big red and black blob represents all the bombs that Jerry dropped on us during that time. More pictures, closer and closer will be added. Looking at this it seems somewhat ludicrous referring to this event as the ‘Battle of Britain’, Scotland, Ireland & Wales missed out on all the fun. Still ‘Battle of Britain’ sounds a bit better than ‘Battle of England’ I suppose.
This is another illustration of my contention that the people that inhabit these Isles are not “Brits”; as this illustration shows quite clearly, the English took the full brunt of the attack!
As you move in on the ‘blob’ naturally it gets bigger, until you get to the point where every bomb that landed on London and he surrounding counties is clearly shown; here’s an example:are you getting the idea?
If you look to the right of the ‘blob’, you’ll see the town of Hornchurch clearly marked. Now Hornchurch believe it or not, had a Royal Air Force Station which was the home to several squadrons of Spitfires and as you can see, Jerry left it well alone and couldn’t be bothered dropping their bombs on it, preferring to drop them on defenseless things like shops, houses and people.
Now where we lived was just a bit to the left of Hornchurch, somewhere in the ‘blob’ so time to zoom in a bit closer;
if you look closely above the A1311 thingy, you’ll see Dag****am, and to the left you may just discern the letters B****ng: these are the towns of Dagenham and Barking, where our house was, and you guessed it I’m about to go in a bit closer still!
this is pretty good isn’t it. I’m having fun even if you lot aren’t! 😀
Now slap bang in the middle of the pic you’ll see the street aptly named Langley Crescent, as you can see it is crescent shaped; and bi-secting it there is Gale Street, you may need to turn your head side on to see that, with a bomb next to the name. Our house was just to the right about 140/150 yards (we weren’t metric back then). Our house was about half way between the streets, Romsey Rd and Studley Rd. and that was the closest we came to being bombed out!
Just for the hell of it I decided to open up Google Earth and zoom in to the last of the thingo’s above and add some more useless information to the satelite view to confuse and bore, all, or any of you, who’ve stayed this far. To answer the question I’m sure some may be thinking, yes I have got something better to do, but today I can’t be bothered! 😀
You’ll notice that I’ve stuck in some of those yellow ‘placemark’ things which Google so generously provide for my/our use at such times as this, so an explanation of sorts is called for!
55 Langley Crescent is where we lived and the other four are for the bombs/rockets which arrived unexpectedly. The only one that I can give the actual date of falling ( DB’s fell from the sky once their motor/rocket shut down) was DoodleBug1, this arrived on the 1st August 1944, my parents 13th wedding anniversary which they were celebrating with the birth of my sister Carole Ann who is known far and wide, well amongst the family anyway as the Doodlebug Baby, for the simple reason that she was born just as the rocket exploded, and she was blessed with a reminder by way of a birth mark in the form of a German V1 rocket; a Doodlebug! (I did a post some time ago entitled; https://lordbeariofbow.com/2014/09/23/the-doodlebug-baby-replies/ ); That’s her pic taken a few years ago!
Doodlebug 2 doesn’t evoke any pleasant memories; I recall it vividly still even if I can’t recall the date or day. It was around 8am and Sonny my brother had left for school, he had a fair way to travel under the circumstances of the day; and I was sitting atop of the trellis outside our back door, watching for any doodblebug that might be coming up the rive, Thames that is!; from my spot I could usually see them first appearing beyween the chimneys on Bobby Ringe’s house and the house next to the Coster’s, don’t know their names as they didn’t have any kids! Anyway I spotted this bug coming and yelled “DOODLEBUG”, at the top of my lungs/voice whatever, nobody took much notice, we were becoming a bit blasé I suppose, unless of course the motor/rocket cut out, and on this morning it did.
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20407283 this link is to a BBC recording of the ‘AirRaid Siren’ , the warning; followed by a ‘Doodlebug’ in flight, motor shut down and explosion of the bomb. Thought you might like like to hear what they sounded like, ❗
In a flash my mother with my baby sister tucked under her arm flashing through to the shelter, Bob my dog close at heel, I flew from my perch hit the ground running diving into the shelter. Usually a count of ten and then the BIG Bang followed; my mother and I were silent and then it came followed by the blast and the dust/smoke and christ only knows what else!
We knew it was close, we were hoping it had hit the school, at that time there wasn’t much chance of anybody being there, but it was not to be; The Doodlebug had struck in Langley Crescent, in the ‘Banjo’ just past Gale Street, and a direct hit upon an air-raid shelter; exactly the same as my mother, sister, dog and I were in. It was believed that there were eight people in the shelter when it struck!
The last placemark, V2 Rocket, deposited itself in the same field that DB1 had utilized back in August, I have no doubt it landed with an exceptionally loud explosion, trouble is I didn’t hear it and didn’t know until Sonny, my brother, Stanley, who we always called Sonny to differentiate from our dad, woke me and said to get up we’d been bombed! Well we hadn’t but we might just as well have been.
The blast had actually sucked our bedroom window OUT, frame and all, also the living room window below our bedroom suffered the same fate, sucked clean out. I haven’t any idea why they got sucked out and were not blasted in, just glad that they were. Had it the blasted in, I have no doubt my brother and I would have been killed, as it was it seemed all good fun and exitement at the time!
On a more sombre note….
During the ‘Blitz’ 32000+ civilians, that is men women and children, were killed; some 2 million houses were destroyed. 60% of the 2 million houses destroyed were in London.
17 thoughts on “And now on a lighter note….”
Sobering post . . . a few years ago my mother was visiting us here in Colorado. We were at Garden of the Gods, and heard, and then saw, a pair of C-130s fly overhead (there’s a few airbases near us, and a squadron of them is stationed here).
She showed me the goose bumps she got in reaction (it was July) to the sound of “quattro motori”, four engines aircrafts.
The island in the Adriatic where she was born and lived during WW II was along the flight path of returning bombers, and if they had not dropped their bombs during the raids, they would drop them there on the way back to base.
I can quite understand her having that reaction; I must admit hearing an air raid siren has the same effect on me.
I had intended to put a video link in the post of a Doodlebug in flight there are many on Google & YouTube but I couldn’t find one where the motors cut out.
I’ve added a link to both the siren and the DB which might interest you ej. 😀
Four years ago I was in London outside the V&A Museum. I was startled to see its facade pockmarked and gauged by the bombings that rained on London. The facade will never be restored. It shall remain so as a silent witness to when barbarism was unleashed.
Seems a bit silly to me, I doubt any of the younger generations passing by would notice(be to busy with their mobile phones) and any that did probably couldn’t care less. It would only be the older generations like mine that would remmber or care and I don’t suppose that there are too many of us left now,once we’ve all gone they’ll probably fix it all up so it looks like new. That’s life Ira!
I would call this a fascinating story, and it is, but it’s more horrifying than fascinating. All those red pins clustered on London like that is just stunning. And to think you were there. What an incredibly dull childhood I had by comparison.
The thing is that Jerry managed to drop the lot in just 8 months, pretty good going really. my brother and I did miss out on some of the bombing. Of course Jerry still kept bombing us after the major event, but nowhere near the ferocity of the blitz, there’s a few tales I suppose I could still tell regarding bombs, some of which I find amusing. We became kind of immune to it after the initial shock.
We certainly didn’t have a dull childhood. 😀
Just added a link which you may find interesting, the air raid siren going off followed by a doodlebug in flight and it’s motor shutting down followed by the bang it’s a BBC recording so it is authentic, well I hope it is it certainy sounded it 😀
People keep asking how come I remember so much of my childhood. I say, “Trauma helps.” I am sure you would understand . . .
Never thought of it in that light Gwen, we didn’t have the word trauma’ back then as far as I can recall. Even so I don’t think there ever was anything like trauma in my life at that time, my memories are all good, I’m going to have to write a blog explaining that I think. seems peeps are getting the impression I’m looking back at bad old times when in fact they were great times. Am I odd?
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I guess I used the word “trauma” as it is in such common use these days. As you say, not an expression used in times gone by. What I mean by it is, it is easy to recall those events that are so outside the norm that they imprint on your memory, and those tend to be the ones which threaten our security – even if they did not scar us for life. Some of us have more of those events than others. I’m with you, people can misconstrue our nostalgia. I know that on account of my writing, I am revisiting the past, but it does not mean I am living in it, or regretting it. Simply musing on it in light of current events or changing times. And it is a source of private amusement how many “adventures” we faced, which young people don’t these days. I heard a radio call-back session the other day where a woman was upset that a Uni campus didn’t allow her to live-in for two weeks with her daughter while she settled her in to that next stage of life! Driving them and their belongings to a new campus is one thing – living there with them is an entirely different definition of assistance 🙂
I have no scars whatsoever from WWII actually I wouldn’t swap my memories for anything, that’s why I must do a follow up as I seem to have left the wrong impression.
As for the woman and daughter, seems the daughters cut the umbilical but the mother is trying to claw it back, time she realized that you have to let go! 😛
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Horrific episode in human history, but one that bears constant repeating, Beari!!
They were great times I think gp, seems I’ve given people the wrong impression with this blog I’m going to have to write another clarifying my feelings of that time in history, which it certainly is. 😀
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I think your having a great time as a child is different than acknowledging the horror if it. Your post clarifies what warfare was like on the ground, especially as the target of relentless bombs. Too many young people today have, as you noted, absolutely no conception of what it looks like. It isn’t a game. It’s a tragedy.
Still, I agree that children often find ways of coping. I’m sure your mother and father weren’t having a great time. Nor were all the children around you. Each child is different. It seems you and some of your friends were blessed with resilient spirits. Thanks for sharing all the info and the sound tape. Very sobering indeed.
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I don’t know about a great time; but the feelings of camaraderie were intense never to be forgotten. When I did return to England in 2005, there was nothing. London was no more, I felt very sad. I shall never return.
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Yes…better to cherish your memories. Especially your feelings of camaraderie.