Contributed by: A7431347
People in story: Alan Archer
Location of story: Whitstable
Background to story: Civilian
Article ID: A4411405
Contributed on: 09 July 2005
In January 1941 I was living in the Coast Guard houses on the Whitstable sea front and remember one night raid by the Germans very well.
It was in the middle of the night, and I never actually saw any of this happening, but needless to say was rudely made well aware that it did! At that time German bombers would fly over Whitstable to drop sea mines to attempt to blow up water traffic in the Thames. This particular night the bombers coming over were attacked by allied night fighters, and must have decided to drop their mines early to lose the weight so they could speed up and head for home. One mine came parachuting down, flying right over the house. The tide was out at the time so it hit the beach below and there was a huge explosion. I was asleep in the front room of the house at the time, and the force of the blast blew me right out of bed! The doors and windows of the house were also blown clean out and the roof collapsed. I was taken to Whitstable College Hospital and treated for my injuries, including a concussion.
I was there for a week and when I came out me and my brother went down to the beach where the mine had landed. There was still a huge crater there and we took some shrapnel and some parachute cord that we found as a souvenir, I think we earnt it after what happened to us! Thinking back on it now I realise how lucky we were. Considering the damage that was done as things were, I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been had the mine hit the house rather than sailing just past it. Needless to say I wouldn’t have been sitting here telling this story if it had hit us!
WW2 People’s War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar. This contribution is published here under the ‘Fair dealing policy’. Copyright remains with the contributor.