|By September 1944 most of the Flying Bombs were being shot down before they reached London. On the 7th September
Duncan Sandys proclaimed that the "Battle of London" was over.
One day later a huge explosion blasted Staveley Road in Chiswick. There was no warning, no air raid siren. This was
|The V2 Rocket
|On the 8th September 1944 a huge explosion occurred in Staveley Road Chiswick in south west London.
There was no siren, no warning. This was the first ballistic missile,Hitler's much vaunted V2 Rocket. It weighed
13 tons and had arrived via the stratosphere at 3,000 miles an hour.
3 People died and 17 were seriously injured in the tragedy which reduced rows of houses to the appearance of a
Londoners would have heard for the first time the distinctive sound of the Rocket.
Firstly the explosion,secondly the roar of the rocket motors catching up (because it travelled slower than the
supersonic Rocket) and lastly the noise of the sonic boom from the upper atmosphere. The noise could be heard
all over the capital.
A second V2 hit Epping at around the same time but fortunately in this case there were no casualties.
The V2 Rockets had been known about by British Intelligence for some time but it had been assumed that the
launch sites had been overrun by the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Indeed only on the day before Duncan Sandy had memorably announced at a press conference "except possibly
for the last few shots the battle of London is over"
At the same time a wave of optimism had been sweeping the country as it was assumed that Germany would
capitulate at any time.
The V2 Attacks went on until the 18th September by which time about 14 had fallen on the London area,when
they abruptly stopped because of the Allied Operation Market Garden at Arnem which forced the Rocket
batteries to withdraw. They continued to fire but could only reach East Anglia.London had temporary relief.
|Staveley Road Chiswick after the V2 attack