- 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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