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Flying Gas Mains

by crockettrn

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Richard Crockett
Location of story: 
Enfield, North London
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
14 July 2004

In July 1944 I had just turned 6 years old when my Mother and I had to flee our home near Enfield, Middlesex to the safety of rural Herefordshire. This was because of the number of V1 "doodlebugs" that were coming over and sometimes falling close by. By the early Autumn things had improved somewhat and we came home only to experience the start of the much more unpredictable V2 rockets.

For this reason I can give an exact date and time to one of my wartime memories. At 18:45 on the 26th of October, I was in my bath! How do I know this? I was splashing around when there was the enormous double bang characteristic of a rocket falling and this, we learned, had fallen on the railway track at Palmers Green station, about a mile and half away, right in front of a commuter train.

One puzzle though. How did my parents know to tell me that this and other double bangs heard at greater distance were rockets? According to the offical histories, HMG did not admit that the country was under rocket attack until later that Autumn and jokes were going the rounds calling the bangs "flying gas mains". Was the rumour mill more effective than the authorities would have liked?

Richard Crockett
Galashiels, Scotland

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