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CH San

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:19 am
by jhopgood
I was browsing through one of the first OB's i edited, and came across correspondence from OB's who had been at CH around D Day.
One mentions a flying bomb that blew of the roof of the San and ruined the nearby masters garages. It was apparently close to the infirmary which survived.
I assume it was the Sanatorium but cannot recall it in my day.
Anyone know where it was/is?

Re: CH San

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:24 am
by LongGone
If you mean the physical location of the San, there was a road that ran from the back of Maine that lead to it.

Re: CH San

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:46 pm
by jhopgood
Ah, but is it still there?
Is that what was known as the San Mile?

Re: CH San

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:20 pm
by sejintenej
Surely "sanatorium" has a meaning very close to hospital which could be translated as our "sicker". Might be worth exploring from that angle.

Otherwise what about the museum (which is now housed in that very building.) Hopefully they have a copy of that very OB which you saw and could investigate their other records. The edition date and the CH dates of the author you should be able to get an approximate date of the occurrance.

I had to investigate things which happened in the Belfast Blitz and, apart from a book on the subject there are mountains of sources from that time. Perhaps local newspapers still have archives from that time?
Civil Defence records (now at Kew probably) and local Fire Brigade records might spread some light.
I have a suspicion in the back of my mind that there may even be a specific record of V1s - those which exploded, those which landed but didn't explode and those downed by the RAF. It also is likely to be at Kew

As an aside, as a youngster, I was taken outside to watch a VI fly over - probably one of the last ones. The engine was firing at the time and the comment was something like "those poor blighters". Of course it was decades before I understood what it was all about.

Re: CH San

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:24 pm
by jhopgood
sejintenej wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:20 pm
Surely "sanatorium" has a meaning very close to hospital which could be translated as our "sicker". Might be worth exploring from that angle.
It was a 2004 OB which I don't have in front of me at the moment. However, the letter definitely differentiated between San and Infirmary.
(Typical. I saved all "my" OB's on CD's, but my annotations are not sufficient to locate the letter. More accurate comments when I find the written page).

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:27 am
by sejintenej
Just done a search and found two items of interest.

The Ofsted Report on a visit on 24/9/2009 refers to the "health centre" which contains an isolation room but the report mentions that the records are kept in the sanatorium. It looks to me that they refer to the Health centre as the sanatorium.

Thjere is a record of an approved pre-1990 planning application to convert the sanatorium at 1Graftons, The Avenue into nurses accommodation. Details would require a visit to the Council Offices. The map shows Graftons as being set back opposite Thorntons and next to Whites and west of West Gun Copse . I suppose it is close to the new Grecians West block. I don't remember anything there but had no reason to visit that area. It does not fit the description of the San being close to the infirmary.

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:08 am
by Foureyes
Dear All,
This is an extract from HLO Flecker's reminiscences of his time as Head Master in time of war:

"...The only serious damage to our buildings occurred when one of our fighters shot a flying bomb down onto us about 5.30am one morning. No blame attaches to the fighter pilot: their orders were to shoot them down between the built up areas on the coast and around London: and these things happen, I suppose, at some 400 mph. The noise woke us up and I went along to soothe the children. But as we had had many such bangs, I went back to bed. At 7.00am our Senior Air Raid Warden rang me to say that one of our emergency sanatoriums had been demolished, nobody hurt and the area properly cordoned off. So I dressed and went to the spot. The sanatorium was a complete wreck: it had contained nothing of value except our emergency food supply, and most of that was subsequently salvaged. The sanatorium orderly's house had suffered some damage and lost its windows. He was on service, but his wife was at home and had her lip cut by flying glass. The main sanatorium, only a few yards off, had some forty or fifty people in it, but had sustained little damage beyond some broken windows and many tiles. The nearest school boarding house lost its ceilings. Some of the stained glass was blown out of Dining Hall and various buildings were strained. The latch of my front door was broken. The saddest loss was the wreck of a set of garages containing the cars of the Masters on service. They were mostly quite beyond repair and their owners received only trivial compensation. The school herd was in a neighbouring meadow - fortunately all well away from the bomb except for two wanderers who became beef before their time..."
David

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:22 am
by Foureyes
Here is an extract from HLO Flecker's reminiscences of his time as Head Master in wartime:

"...The only serious damage to our buildings occurred when one of our fighters shot a flying bomb down onto us about 5.30am one morning. No blame attaches to the fighter pilot: their orders were to shoot them down between the built up areas on the coast and around London: and these things happen, I suppose, at some 400 mph. The noise woke us up and I went along to soothe the children. Bust as we had had many such bangs, I went back to bed. At 7.00am our Senior Air Raid Warden rang me to say that one of our emergency sanatoriums had been demolished, nobody hurt and the area properly cordoned off. So I dressed and went to the spot. The sanatorium was a complete wreck: it had contained nothing of value except our emergency food supply, and most of that was subsequently salvaged. The sanatorium orderly's house had suffered some damage and lost its windows. He was on service, but his wife was at home and had her lip cut by flying glass. The main sanatorium, only a few yards off, had some forty or fifty people in it, but had sustained little damage beyond some broken windows and many tiles. The nearest school boarding house lost its ceilings. Some of the stained glass was blown out of Dining Hall and various buildings were strained. The latch of my front door was broken. The saddest loss was the wreck of a set of garages containing the cars of the Masters on service. They were mostly quite beyond repair and their owners received only trivial compensation. The school herd was in a neighbouring meadow - fortunately all well away from the bomb except for two wanderers who became beef before their time...."
David :shock:

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:34 am
by jhopgood
Thank you David

Re: CH San

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:49 pm
by jhopgood
Found the letter from Patrick Field (PeB37-44) in articles on D Day at CH in the summer 2004 OB.
Basically confirms Flecker but refers to Infirmary as Infirmary (not Sanatorium) and does not mention that it is a temporary San. Mrs Robisnon had a cut hand (not lip).
He also mentions windows broken in E end houses and Dining Hall.
The glass roof fell in on the baths and there was damage at the railway station, so it must have been a pretty big explosion.
As he mentions, CH was lucky it didn't come down a bit earlier.

Re: CH San

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:05 pm
by Kit Bartlett
There is a reference to the flying bomb incident on Page 2 of The Blue Volume LXXII November-December 1944.
This occurred at a little before 5 a.m. on 29th. June 1944 when a flying bomb was shot down by a zealous night-fighter and crashed into the trees over the masters' garages.The C H Home Guard hurried to the spot. The only human casualty was Mrs. Drummond who was cut by glass but not enough to keep her from her normal duties. I do not know what her position was in the Infirmary but they must have been made of tougher stock in those days,

The garages and San A were smashed up and some damage done to San B. The Infirmary ,as it was generally known, had damage to windows and doors only.Many windows were broken in the houses but thanks to the wire netting no-one was hurt by flying glass.

There is a brief reference in the Maine B House Notes for June-July 1944 that the house had had several window panes broken, 247 to be precise.
As this edition went to press only just after the incident presumably fuller details could not be disclosed on security grounds.

Reference has been made to The Head Master's wartime diary. Was this ever published does any one know ?

Kit Bartlett

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:20 pm
by michael scuffil
I notice that this happened on 29 June 1944, so it was a fairly early V-1. The first fell on London on 13 June that year, two days after I was born (and my mother's birthday).

At about the same time as this one fell on CH, another fell on London, and thereby hangs a tale. My father was stationed somewhere in Scotland when I was born, but got 'compassionate leave' to come and see my mother and me. While he was there, a V-1 flew over. My mother was used to them by that time, and when my father asked what the noise was, she said, 'Oh, it's a buzz-bomb. As long as it keeps buzzing, it'll fall somewhere else.' Whereupon it stopped buzzing, and they (with 2-week-old me) scrambled into the (windowless) corridor and under a table. It fell about half a mile away. So my father said: 'You can't stay here.' Now, my father had spent much of the war picking fruit off the trees in Sierra Leone, 'protecting' the harbour at Freetown, and the rest twiddling his thumbs in Scotland. My mother by contrast had spent the whole war (and hence the Blitz) in London, and wasn't fazed by one little doodlebug. But my father insisted, and we were sent to his Irish relations in Birmingham. Unlike him, they were observant Catholics and were shocked to find I'd not been baptized. So my mother said: You can have him baptized if you like. Which they did.

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:54 pm
by rockfreak
We had a very similar experience Michael. Dad was away in the war, Mum and I (aged 1) were in digs in Palmers Green, North London in 1944. A doodlebug cut out overhead and as they heard the whine as it descended the woman downstairs shouted up, "I think this is it!" My mother, like yours, dived under a table and the bomb fell in a nearby street, demolishing a couple of houses. I guess many of these things were aimed at the London docks but they had a habit of falling anywhere in the Home Counties. The Blitz was probably worse. I know an old lady who was living in Peckham at the time and she lost eight members of her extended family as German bombers cruised along the Thames bombing hell out of anything within range.

Re: CH San

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:47 pm
by Foureyes
"...Reference has been made to the Head Master's wartime diary. Was this ever published does any one know ?"

The reference was made by me. I was in the Museum about 10-12 years ago looking for something else and stumbled on this document, which was among other papers in a drawer. It is not so much a diary as a post-war summary 'for the record.' And presumably intended for a future Head Master in case the Germans attack us again! I took a photocopy, which I still have. I presume that the original is still in the Museum, but as far as I know it has never been published. It is not long - about 10 pages of A4.
David :shock:

Re: CH San

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:25 am
by Foureyes
"I guess many of these things were aimed at the London docks but they had a habit of falling anywhere in the Home Counties."

The V1 was inherently inaccurate and depended on a timer to stop the fuel supply to the motor, at which point the device would commence its near vertical descent to the ground. They were simply pointed towards an area target (i.e., a city, nothing as precise as a dock), the timer set and off they went. Sometimes they hit significant targets such as Hungerford Bridge (19 June 1944), but more often they landed on civilian sites, such as a shop in Deptford (25 Nov 44, 160 killed).
As a matter of interest, a total of 5,822 V1s were launched against the UK, of which 2,419 were against London and 3,403 against targets outside London. Of those, 3,957 were destroyed: anti-aircraft guns - 1,878; fighters - 1,847; and balloons - 232. Taken together, V1s (pulse-jet powered) and V2s (rocket-powered) destroyed 29,400 houses within London and damaged a further 1,255,000. Figures for outside London were 22,000 and 165,000, respectively. Human casualties caused by the V-weapons were 8,938 killed and 25,504 wounded.

The V1 was a pure terror weapon aimed at cowing the civilian population into submission. Even the Germans admitted that manned bombers were much more accurate.

I have never understood why we should be expected to apologise for bombing Dresden when the Germans carried out these attacks on London - and also, I should add, Antwerp (4,229 killed); Liege (1,649 killed) and Brussels (508 killed).

David :shock: