- Contributed by
- Derrick Grady
- People in story:
- Derrick Grady
- Location of story:
- Smithfield Market, London.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 14 November 2003
I didn't stay long at the B.B.C. I could see that it was a dead-end job and that my schooling did not qualify me for most of the jobs advertised on the B.B.C. staff bulletin boards. Quite by chance I got the opportunity to join a well-known City of London firm of silver and goldsmiths. At first I worked in the Showroom but, I was destined to become a City apprentice with all that that still means. (But, that's another story.) The war in Europe was moving towards the occupation of Germany and the last terror weapon was unleashed upon London. The V2 rocket propelled missile.
As part of my new job, I was sent all over London visiting customers collecting and delivering work. The firm's workshop premises had been destroyed by enemy action during what I call the second Great Fire of London, November/December Blitz 1940. The remnants of the work force, highly skilled silversmiths, were 'lodging' in the workshop of another precious metalworking company in Clerkenwell Road. They were working as part of the dispersed aircraft production system introduced by Lord Beaverbrook. They made fuel pipes for Halifax bombers and exhaust manifolds for Spitfire fighters. There were hundreds of small workshops integrated into this scheme.
Therefore, I was making regular journeys, largely on foot, between Fetter Lane, site of the showroom with its bombed-out workshop and Clerkenwell Road. When walking back to Fetter Lane, I used to cut through by Farringdon Station and pass the corner of Smithfield Market. One day I had just returned from Clerkenwell and walked around the corner of the Showroon inside our building, (the Showroom was built like an inner room inside the shell of the main structure for security,) and was approaching the desk under a window where the young lady secretary worked when that window and its frame was blown in right on top of her. Then we heard the explosion and the incredible sound of a rocket descending. (These rockets travelled faster than the speed of sound.) Luckily, Miss... was unhurt but badly shaken.
The V2 had landed on the corner of Smithfield Market where, less than ten minutes previously I had walked. I mean not just near, on the exact spot!
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