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15 October 2014
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The Doodlebug in the Village

by Ron Steer

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Contributed by 
Ron Steer
People in story: 
Doreen Ashenden, later Mrs Doreen Harpum.
Location of story: 
Shorne, near Gravesend, Kent
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
15 November 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War web site by Ron Steer, of BBC South East Today, on behalf of Mrs Doreen Harpum and has been added to the site with his/her permission. Mrs Harpum fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

Shorne was a typically quiet Kentish country village near Gravesend. At that time it was quite a long journey to get to London.
It was near the beginning of the war and I was about seven or eight years old. We used to sleep in the Morrison shelter in our living room. As in many houses it was also used as a table.
One night a doodlebug fell nearby in Woodlands Lane. It was a country road with not very many buildings; however, among them there were two large army huts, one used for stores and the other to billet about twenty men. The doodlebug missed the store and hit the hut accommodating the men, killing them all. It was near enough for the blast to blow our back door open and blow out some of our windows.
Being a child, and unaware of the significance of all that was happening, I was very calm about it all. The next day however, I remember that the tragedy of what had happened down the lane was the talk of the village.

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Message 1 - The Doodlebug in the Village

Posted on: 15 November 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Ron

You say that "It was near the beginning of the war and I was about seven or eight years old. ... One night a doodlebug fell nearby in Woodlands Lane".

This simply was not possible at the time you state, pinpointed by your age; it must have been a conventional HE bomb.


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