V1 and V2 Rockets

Contributed by :            derbycsv
People in story:              Elizabeth Innes-Smith
Location of story:           Whitstable, Kent
Background to story:     Civilian
Article ID:                      A5024521
Contributed on:             12 August 2005

Whitstable was in the flight path of the doodlebugs (V1s) on their way to London. We got used to their rumbly noise as they went over – often you could see them as well as hear them, they weren’t terribly high up. It was when the noise stopped abruptly that you worried because moments later they had plunged to earth and exploded. The V2 rockets which came later were even more frightening and caused greater destruction. You couldn’t see or hear them coming…

Going down the High Street on my way home from the cinema one evening I suddenly heard the most almighty explosion. I was just passing the Congregational Church at the time and a young soldier grabbed me and pushed me down against the church wall and crouched over me to shield me from the blast. Seconds later we heard the sound of breaking glass as shop windows shattered….. When I got home I discovered that my mother had been at a meeting in the church and had huddled against the other side of the wall within feet of me!

A V2 rocket had fallen on a fish and chip shop full of people with the usual long queue outside. Everyone was killed and there were many more deaths in surrounding houses. The V2 made an enormous crater. The thought of the agonies suffered by those people from boiling oil upset us all, but then we realised their deaths must have been instantaneous.


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.