V2 Rockets

by Arthur

 

I do think that living immediately on the coastal strip, gave the population in these areaís a better chance against a direct hit, as both V1ís and V2ís would have been in most cases, set to make sure they were well over the coast before detonation.

I can remember the first V2. To strike in the Gorleston area very well. I was 14 years old and serving my apprenticeship at this time, as a carpenter with a building firm on Pier Plain which is quite close to the harbour. A terrific explosion shook the area around mid afternoon. I thought that one of the navel vessels in the harbour had blown up, as immediately following the sound of the explosion, one could hear a long drawn out roar which seemed to go on for some time, making me think it was the sound of steam escaping from a ships boilers. 

In fact the sound I was hearing was the bomb coming, as it had arrived faster than the speed of sound!  (During this period it was possible to see the vertical vapour trails as the rockets left the continent.).  A few minutes later T.V.P. my boss told the four of us in the workshop to grab our bicycles and follow him! It appeared that a V2 had detonated on the property of a business associate of his, a retired architect with a large bungalow out towards Belton. I guess we must have looked comical on our bikeís, our boss, a rotund little man with a cycle that seemed to me far to big for him, me with a machine with only one pedal, as I couldnít afford to replace it, our foreman with flat hat and pipe clenched between his teeth and another young apprentice. A few hundred yards from the scene, two policemen resplendent in tin helmets and cycle clips stopped us! After explaining our vital mission, we were allowed to proceed. When we arrived I for one didnít know what I was looking at! Apart from the windows all blown out of the bungalow, tiles off the roof etc. there was also these long alloy tubes, parts of the rocket, lying in the back garden filled with what appeared to be glass wool! The crater from the explosion was approximately 50 yards from the back door. (Glass wool was something I didnít see again until many years later when it was used for insulation!) Whilst we were inside trying to clear up some of the mess, car loads of military brass started to arrive, all trying to look knowledgeable, but to be quite honest, I think like us, they had never seen a V2 before! The only casualty I could find, was a dead blackbird 30 yards from the crater.

 

 

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