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15 October 2014
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Flying bombs over London

by newcastlecsv

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Archive List > V-1s and V-2s

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Gordon Robinson
Location of story: 
Hounslow, Middlesex; and Watford, Hertfordshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
23 September 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from Northumberland on behalf of Mr. Gordon Robinson. Mr. Robinson fully understands the site’s terms and conditions, and the story has been added to the site with his permission.

In the summer of 1944 Germany instituted a campaign of blanket bombing of London and the South-East of England by pilot-less aircraft known to the British as V1s, more commonly referred to as “Doodle-bugs”. They consisted of a jet engine and a warhead so that when the fuel ran out the engine stopped, the aircraft glided to earth and exploded. They had a disturbing deep droning sound and when the engine cut out there was an ominous silence, followed by the inevitable explosion.

Obviously, they were quite indiscriminate in their targets. For the most part the V1s were launched from sites along the French coast. Although the majority of them reached London, some went down in the English Channel, some in rural South-East England. I believe one, at least, overshot and reached Watford. Considerable damage and loss of life resulted from their use.

One June evening, at the age of eleven, I was standing in our garden in Hounslow when I saw a V1 come over quite high before the engine cut out. It wobbled whilst slowly descending over the horizon, followed by a loud bang then a large cloud of dust and debris. There was nothing I could do but watch this awful sight, and there were many casualties from that particular bomb.

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Message 1 - Re: Flying bombs over London

Posted on: 23 September 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Gordon

In giving your description of a V1 missile you say that "... when the fuel ran out the engine stopped, the aircraft glided to earth and exploded".

This was not the case, it neither ran out of fuel nor did it glide to earth. The engine stopped purely accidentally when the V1 was put into a steep dive by two explosive devices. I gave a fuller explanation of this in this thread F2212868?thread=693622

Kind regards,
Peter Ghiringhelli

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