RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

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Foureyes
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RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Foureyes »

I am researching the Flying Bomb/Doodlebug/V-1 which landed and exploded near the C.H. Infirmary at about 5a.m. on 29 June 1944. It came within an ace of inflicting a major catastrophe, but thankfully caused only one minor injury and some relatively minor physical damage. Although eyewitnesses will now be relatively elderly - as am I! - I would be most grateful if anyone can help with the following, please:
1. What was the reaction of the school to the explosion? It must have made a very loud bang but reaction seems to have been muted. The Head Master (Flecker) heard it and went back to sleep. The Alert Group deployed and checked for any injured/dead - there were none. But did anything else happen?
2. Masters' Garages. The few accounts of the incident all mention that there was a small group of temporary garages housing the cars of masters who had gone off to join the Armed Forces. The garages and their contents were destroyed. I believe that these garages were on the west side of the road that leads down behind the Infirmary, but because they were temporary they are not marked on any map I can find. Can anyone help with a more precise location, please?
3. Damage. Flecker records that the ceilings of 'the house nearest the explosion' fell down. I presume that this means Maine A/B and/or Prep A. Can anyone add any detail, please?
4. At the time of the explosion were the pupils in their dormitories or in the Tube?
5. Any other memories?

Even anecdotal evidence will be welcome. Many thanks,
David :shock:
MrEd
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by MrEd »

I have never heard of this, having been at CH 1978-85, when some at the school (e.g. Mr Kirby) would have been WW2 veterans and might well have had tales to tell or re-tell. I am suprised it wasn't more of a story, it must have left some form of crater visible even today.
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by sejintenej »

I don't remember where but this has been the subject before on the forum. Try a search
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Ajarn Philip
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Ajarn Philip »

The CH San thread in Oct 2017: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=5069&p=139049&hilit=bomb#p139049
Re: CH San

Unread post by Kit Bartlett » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:05 pm
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 ?
Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 69-75
Foureyes
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Foureyes »

Thanks for the replies.
'Head Masters's wartime diary.' It is not so much a diary as an account written in 1946 'for the record.' There is at least one copy in the Museum and I have a copy. It is only seventeen pages long, but sheds considerable light on what went on at the school 1939-45.

'Left some form of a crater.' V-1s were designed arrive at an angle of between 80 and 90 degrees and to detonate just above the ground. The high explosive was molded in such a way as to radiate a blast-wave horizontally, in order to maximize the effect on people. Thus, very little energy was wasted on forming a crater, although a few did so.

Mrs Drummond was the wife of one of the estate staff.

Maine B windows. Thank you, I had not picked that up. 247 windows sounds like more than 'several.'

As a matter of interest, I have mapped out the missile's trajectory and 200 feet shorter it would have hit Maine B and 200 yards to the right and it would have hit the Sicker. Also, when it hit at 5a.m. the grounds were deserted. Had it come down three hours later there would have been boys and staff all over the place. C.H. was, as usual, very fortunate.

Any more info will be most welcome.

David :shock:
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Martin »

Mrs Drummond’s husband was Dr Thomas Scott’s factotum, always called by him “Drummond.” He seemed to be a sort of clerk, mixer of medications, runner of errands, etc. and was based in the Sicker. Perhaps they both lived in the Sicker. Dr Scott and he had been colleagues for many years.
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Oliver »

I was at CH in the 1950s and never heard of the Flying Bomb incident. But it is unsurprising that Mr Kirby did not mention it. He was absent and serving in the Royal Signals for the duration of the war.
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Foureyes »

"I was at CH in the 1950s and never heard of the Flying Bomb incident." So was I. I can recall it being mentioned in about 51-52, but in a rather casual way, with a snigger that the masters' cars had been destroyed. I am inquisitive by nature and decided that lock-down was a good opportunity to look into it.What really got me going was, as mentioned above, what would have happened if it had blown up just a few yards from where it did. There were some dreadful explosions at schools - Petworth and Catford being the worst - and not that far from Horsham in either case.

"Perhaps they both lived in the Sicker." In fact, Dr Scott had a rather superior residence about half-a-mile away overlooking what we used to refer to as 'Doctor's Lake.' Mr and Mrs Drummond lived in San B, the smaller of the two Sanitorium buildings, which was between the Infirmary and San A.

David :shock:
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by 3078260061 »

The Medical Officer in 1944 was Dr,Friend, not Dr.Scott, who took over about 3 or 4 years later. I don't remember Drummond, but presumably he worked under both in succession.

Dr.Friend and Dr.Scott both lived in a large house called Stammerham, by the Doctor's Lake as stated, although only in one end of it. The other end was occupied during my time by Mr.Newberry (Pip) who taught geography in the room above "Uncle" Kirby's lab.

Before CH railway station was opened the signal box at the junction of the Guildford branch with the main line was named Stammerham Junction, presumably in the absence of any other name for the vicinity.
Brian Polley, Col.B 1944-1953
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Foureyes »

Brian,
Many thanks for the correction on names, which is very helpful.
I see that you arrived in 1944, presumably in September? This was obviously after the V-1 incident and you were very young at the time, but can you remember any gossip about the bomb?
Thanks again,
David
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by sejintenej »

3078260061 wrote: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:05 pm The Medical Officer in 1944 was Dr,Friend,
How unfortunate.
My employer sent me to the company doctor to get a jab before going abroad. As well as the polio drop (no sugar lump), when I arrived he had the filled syringes all ready and waiting - all 12 of them in one session. Dr Friend (probably not the CH one) was no friend on that occasion.
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by 3078260061 »

David, yes, I did arrive in September 1944. I have no memory at all of the V1 incident being mentioned, and did not find out about it until reading about it some years later.

You ask whether the boys were sleeping in the tube or the dormitories. I remember people talking about sleeping in the tube but have the impression that this had ceased before the summer of 1944. The threat from piloted aircraft had reduced by then, and the CH incident was in the early days of the V1 onslaught.
Brian Polley, Col.B 1944-1953
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by MrEd »

It is a certain irony that the predominant German terror weapon, which although directed was not guided and had an element of randomness (understood to be part of the terror effect) would land relatively harmlessly on the former school of Barnes Wallis, whilst his Tallboys and Grand Slams were bringing in the age of precision bombing to great effect.

The Tallboy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHPEP7ziKmU

And some 6 months after this incident, the Grand Slam.

https://youtu.be/gpfZX9nLSpQ?t=5

Sic semper tyrannis.
Foureyes
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by Foureyes »

"...had an element of randomness (understood to be part of the terror effect)" The randomness certainly added to the terror effect, but that was not the German's intention. Hitler's direction was to terrorise the population of central London and all V-1s had their guidance system set to impact at the Tower of London. But the technology of the day was not always up to the task and many went awry for reasons the Germans were never able to establish. Of those launched from the Pas de Calais several ended up near Paris, another near Brussels, and several hundred fell in Kent and Sussex. Of 40-odd launched against Manchester from aircraft over the North Sea, just one landed within the Greater Manchester boundary.

However, the CH V-1 was not due to errors in the guidance system, but to an attack by an RAF fighter. The RAF pilots had a moral dilemma. If their attack resulted in the detonation of the missile in mid-air, all well and good. But if they only damaged it (or tipped it over) so that it crashed short of its target they almost certainly saved lives in London, but the missile might well land on housing in the rural areas and take other lives. Mostly, of course, the missile fell on fields or woods - but not always.

David :shock:
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Re: RESEARCH - FLYING BOMB

Post by eucsgmrc »

Foureyes wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:10 pm "... many went awry for reasons the Germans were never able to establish. Of those launched from the Pas de Calais several ended up near Paris, another near Brussels ...
Those may not have been intended for England. It's now almost completely forgotten that Antwerp was also the victim of a prolonged heavy bombardment by V1 and V2 missiles, and that wasn't the only target in continental Europe.

Nevertheless, the general assertion that these things couldn't be reliably guided is true. The Germans had no feedback either - no observation or reliable information of where each one ended up. If they did get any kind of report, they had no way to know whether it was fake.

But this is in danger of wandering off the OP's point.
John Wexler
Col A 1954-62
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