17 June 2014

17th June 1944: ran for shelter with tin hat on - intense flying bomb raids - friends killed & injured

17 Sat. Very mild, rather rough, some sunny periods. Warning at 12.50 a.m. Several robot planes came, three or four together; some fell fairly near, the gunfire, including rockets and tracer bullets, was terrific. All clear at 2.25 a.m. Further warning at 2.35 a.m. A lot more machines, some flying high other only a little above the roof tops. I had to run for the shelter with my tin hat on, a machine under concentrated fire was just overhead with shrapnel falling like hail. It fell locally.* You can hear these things which give out an angry stuttering note. When they are only a little way up, the engine stops and the plane with a bomb in its nose explodes as it dives into the ground. Maud stayed the night; she is used to unbroken quietness in Preston, she did not like the experience. All clear at 6.15 a.m. Bombs have fallen on the Dundonald estate and elsewhere near at hand but no details yet. Cousin Len was married to Doris Farr today; she stays the night here sometimes. Warning at 3.55 p.m. Four or five robot planes and gunfire. Went to see young people's sports on Joseph Hood but came home when the sirens went. All clear at 4.20 p.m. Also from 4.50 to 5.0 p.m. two machines to eastwards. From 5.15 to 6.0 p.m. Two robot planes and a large twin bomber, the latter was heavily shelled. From 6.12 to 6.40 p.m. a few more robots. 7.40 to 8.15 p.m. still more robots and gunfire. 9.35 p.m. actually saw a robot plane from S.E. to N.W. the gunfire was about two miles behind it. It dived vertically not far to N.W. then I heard the explosion. I saw the fire issuing from a jet in the tail; it was quite low; all clear at 9.58 p.m. In afternoon went to see the appalling ruin caused in the night by a robot plane; the worst I have seen. Enquired and found to my regret that Mrs. Dean was seriously injured and Mrs Brice who Ciss knew was killed; Mrs. Dean and Mrs. Brice lived together in Cliveden Road. Warning at 11.25 p.m. The raid was made by jet-propelled machines which came in droves all the night; many bombs were quite near and caused some nasty jolts. The guns fired at nearly every machine, the din was awful, the most dreadful raid I have experienced; all clear at 6.30 a.m. on 18 Sun.
*Cliveden Rd. 16 people killed.

(The asterisk and footnote is Fred's, added at the foot of a page.)

And note the comment added below...

1 comment:

  1. “I saw the fire issuing from a jet in the tail”
    I was six and a half that summer, and living just over a mile from where Fred lived. One morning a friend and I were walking along Burlington Rd on our way to Bushey Primary School when a V1 with its fiery tail passed overhead. There had been no air-raid warning and we just stood and watched it. It was the first one we’d seen and we didn’t realise it was a bomb.