- Contributed by
- CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
- People in story:
- Philip Hugh Fillingham
- Location of story:
- Worcester Park Surrey
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 June 2005
LT Phil Fillingham 705 Sqd Royal Navy Gosport Sikorsky R-4B Warner 'Scarab' 145hp
This story was submitted to the Peoples War site by John C Haywood volunteer Lincoln CSV on behalf of Philip Hugh Fillingham and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Fillingham fully understands the sites terms and conditions.
This is about D-Day.
I had been accepted for a pilot training scheme, and was waiting to be trained up in the Royal Navy. At the time I was staying at my parents home in Worcester Park Surrey and it was a beautiful summers day, the day was 6th June 1944 D-Day. We awoke real early to the noise of many, many aircraft, so we went out of the house and looked up, the sky was filled with American B17's, Liberators, and all other types of American bombers heading towards France. I'd never seen so many aircraft at any one time, they must have been making a thousand bomber raid, and it went on all morning I thought it was wonderful. We did not know what it was all about, but we guessed it must be D-Day, we had not been told but the fact was it was so massive. The next three or four days the news was all about what was going on in the Channel and on the north coast of France.
On the evening of June the 10th (I still remember it well)it was about ten o' clock and we were just sitting around the living room when we heard this noise, a kind of odd staccato noise, we did not know what it was so we went outside to investigate, and the noise came closer and closer. At first we thought it was one of those American bomber's with half of it's engines shot away, it must be one of the B17's and the poor guy must be struggling to keep it in the air. It sounded very low and it came closer anad closer until we could see it on the horizon about three miles away with a big streak of flame. We all said that poor guy is on fire, and we agonised over the American crew who where going to crash, and sure enough within about thirty seconds there was a tremendous crash. I thought that guy probably did not have a chance to jettison his bombs before he went in and the whole thing blew up. That must be a terrible thing to happen.
Worcester Park is a suberb of London, and what happened was revealed in the paper the next day, Hitler had launched his new V weapon, we did not know what a V weapon was but later we found out that it was his vengance weapon, the very first one and we had seen it. It was very scary after that because that was just one of many. As the time went by more and more of them came over, sometimes as many as a hundred a day all aimed towards London, and a lot came very close to us. The bad part about the V1 weapons was that you could hear them about ten minutes before they arrived. The V1 travelled about four hundred miles an hour and they could not be caught, except by a Spitfire.
The engine was a pulse jet, and as the name implies the noise was pulsing, it was very rapid and distinctive and at the same time very scary, and you knew if it hit your area. They could level a place about three hundred yards accross. It was a bomb designed for blast and would knock all the houses down leaving a crater that was only about thre feet deep. The papers began to describe what they looked like and would add a sketch, we named it the 'Buzz Bomb' from the noise that it made but it was very, very, scary to know that each one you heard could be your end.
We had in our garden a bomb shelter that was built of brick in 1941 so every time we heard the things coming we would call everyone into it. In our family was my Dad,Mom,brother, sister and myself, five of us in such a small shelter not quite enough room for all of us, and this happened about three or four time a day. We stayed in the shelter until the thing passed overhead or exploded, and some came pretty close, infact one exploded about a quarter of a mile away, but luckily it was at the other side of the railway embankment so it stopped the blast. An incident that I will always remember was when my dad was upstairs in the bedroom and there was one one it's way. My mother was always insisting that we go in the shelter, so on one day she said 'it's time for the shelter' and then shouted to dad upstairs. I'm coming, but he did not come, and the V1 came closer and closer, my mother shouted again 'dad come on it's coming, he just scrambled into the shelter as it came overhead.
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