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19 January 2013

18th Jan 1943: German bomber shelled

18 Mon. Mild for season, calm, overhead haze.  Warning from 4.35 a.m. to 5.40 a.m. The enemy returned to the attack and a few machines penetrated to outer London. The barrage was very heavy and the Raynes Park guns were used to good effect. A bomb fell at Wharfdale Gardens, Thornton Heath, a few people being killed. Also a long line of incendiaries fell along the middle of Brighton Road, Croydon. At 5.20 a.m. I stood watching a group of searchlights to southwards when I saw a glow high up in the sky. At first I thought it was a parachute flare, but it travelled too quickly and began to fall rapidly, getting brighter and larger, finally plunging headlong. I realised it was a German plane crashing to earth, leaving a trail of orange and red fire, cracking as it fell; then it sank below the horizon and after a few seconds I heard a terrific rumble as it as it crashed and blew itself up. Have since heard it fell harmlessly on Upper Green Caterham. Four of crew were burned to death, a fifth bailed out & was captured. The Raynes Park anti-aircraft camp claim to have shot down two enemy aircraft: a total of 10 were shot down out of a total of 60 that were sent. Jack Bradley called in evening  in uniform: he is in the Army Pay Corps. He now has a baby girl as well as a boy. Alert from 7.45 to 8.20 p.m. nothing to report.

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