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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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Peter Poulton


I was a child living in London through the war and although I tend to forget some things the V1s - flying bombs - doodle-bugs (call them what you will) left an indelible memory. The nthe nearest one to my home in Chiswick in West London was about 50 yards away. We all knew that while the engine, which sounded like a worn out badly tuned motor-cycle, was running we were OK - but when the engine stopped it was look out.

The V2 was an altogether different kettle of fish because you didn't know it was coming until it came down. The first one landed a short distance from home. I was looking out of the front window when there was a rumble, my mother asked me if I had kicked something - as she spoke there was a very loud explosion and I headed for the shelter. At first no one knew what had happened, so the officials said a gas-main had blown up. After that any unexplained explosions were refered to as 'Chiswick gas mains'. The V1s were more damaging as they carried a one-tonne warhead, whereas the V2s carried approximately 450 kgs.

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