Born in 1933 I was 11 years old in August, 1944. I remember the V1 incident at The Close, off Twickenham Road on Sunday 20th August very clearly, as I was there.
My aunt lived in one of the houses as the head of the close. We lived on one the houses in the same development but on the Twickenham Road - No 2, The Close, later No 50, Twickenham Road. Opposite my aunt’s house, at the head of The Close, lived a family – in which the parents died as a result of the explosion, but their three children survived. The family were not in one of the shelters, they were in their house.
The sirens went that Sunday to warn us that flying bombs had been sighted. When the flying bombs got close, a second alarm consisting of three ‘pips’ would go off.
I was in the garden at my aunt’s house. I heard the three ‘pips’ and saw the flying bomb almost immediately. Its engine stopped; it didn’t glide; it came straight down and blew me back into my aunt’s house. I remember the haze of orange smoke, full of dirt and dust that hung over everything. I remember the cries of the people in the shelters, calling “get us out”! My sister stumbled through the fog of dust, she was looking for me, but I’d been blown off my feet by the blast and was not where she had last seen me.
Another family were in their garden too. The mother was deaf and probably didn’t hear either the siren or the ‘pips’. Both she and her daughter were killed. We went to stay with an Aunt in Kingston for a few days, because our house was too badly damaged by the blast to be lived in. Our Sunday joint was in the oven when the bomb hit. When we went inside and looked at the oven the carving knife that had been on the table was thrust into the roasting meat. We could never understand how that had happened!
My cousin - my aunt’s daughter was married, not long, to a soldier who had just left us to return to Northern France and the Allied Invasion Campaign. He missed the doodlebug incident by just a day or two.
I remember an UXB (Unexploded Bomb) incident opposite our house, across the Twickenham Road. The lad who came to make the bomb safe was only 18 years old; we all had to get out of our homes while he did that.
I also remember the land mine that came down near the Rex Cinema, it fell in a garden and its parachute was caught up in tree or some bushes. It hung suspended for a while, and before it fell to the ground and exploded. I heard that birds or chickens had been pecking at its cords and that is what caused it to fall, in the end!