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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Memories of the V1 and V2 Era.

by Norfolk Adult Education Service

Contributed by 
Norfolk Adult Education Service
People in story: 
Peter Manley
Location of story: 
Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
27 November 2004

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Sarah Housden of Norfolk Adult Education’s reminiscence team on behalf of Peter Manley and was added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

The V1/V2 period is very vivid in my memory as living in Burnham-on-Crouch we were on the route to London. Soon after the V1s started, the marshes towards the coast at Burnham were occupied by numerous anti aircraft batteries — the noise when they were operating was fantastic. These resulted in a high mortality of the V1s in the local area. Again, we didn’t seem to have any fear. I remember walking home from playing in the fields watching a V1 shot down overhead, only a few hundred feet up. Also, I remember playing football against the boys from the next village, and pausing in the game to watch a Mustang chase a V1 overhead (I can’t remember whether it was shot down though). Many V1 crashed locally, but we were disappointed to find that the wreckage was just a heap of rusty junk. There was nothing worth collecting.

V2s came a little later, with several landing in the area, usually in fields. The double explosion was a puzzle until we realised that the rocket exploded in the air, with the warhead exploding on impact with the ground. Going to school on the bus on a clear morning, we could sometimes see V2s being launched from the Dutch coast, as the vapour trail was visible in the form of a corkscrew. I can remember being in the garden, hearing the first explosion and then watching what appeared to be clouds of leaves flying across the sky before the second explosion. This was shrapnel. The large rocket nozzle usually stayed in one piece. They used one of these as a collecting box for charities on the sea front.

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