December 1944

Key To Quoted Map References

Key To Quoted Map References

In this table the data contained in columns marked – No, Date, Time, Place, Map Reference and Crater  -is our transcription of the data in AIR 20/4126 at The National Archives.

The data in – Place Other, Killed and Injured – we have collected from various publications, lists and information from contributors.

Where a “§” appears in the LT column you can find further details on the V2 Rocket website including Launch Time, where fired from and launching Unit.

For date column of the 1,119 incidents logged in AIR 20/4126 –  366 of the incidents have been hand annotated with the letter “N”, 250 with the letter “K”, 66 with “?”, 19 with “Kew Failed”, 26 with “Dud Lighting”  and 392 with no annotation at all. Therefore in this column we have added the corresponding letter, question mark or left blank – for “Kew Failed we have put “KF” and “DL” for “Dud lighting”. If anybody has any idea what these annotations represent we would be very grateful if they could share that information with us. Likewise if anybody knows what “Off Map” reresents we would be grateful for an explanation.


NoDateL TTimePlacePlace otherMap ReferenceCraterKilledInjured
28501-12-44§08:03EnfieldEnfield (airburst)L 8014Airburst2
28601-12-44§08:03WoolwichWestmount Road, ElthamQ 876 93524' x 5'129
28701-12-44§09:00BarkingBarking. Fell on marshes.L 890 01147' diameter
28801-12-44§09:31BrentwoodLapwater Hall, near Brentwood, Essex.M 077 11926' diameter11
28901-12-44§10:24BarkingBarking (gas holder damaged and ignited)L 878 03336' diameter9
29001-12-44§10:24LeytonLeytonL 825 05640' x 11'332
29101-12-44§13:01HornchurchHornchurch, Essex. Fell on allotments.L 975 06637' x 11'33
29201-12-44§13:06LaindonGreat Burstead, Essex / Laindon, Essex. Fell in field.M 143 10034' x 9'1
29301-12-44§18:25HornseyMuswell Hill / Hornsey.L 733 08655' x 15'14
29401-12-44§21:12PagleshamPaglesham, Essex. Fell in River Roach.Off Map M 375 09560' diameter
29501-12-44§21:47WalthamstowWalthamstow.L 805 08225' diameter1235
29602-12-44§07:35RamsholtRamsholt, Suffolk. Fell on mud flats.Off Map M 760 58855' diameter
29702-12-44§08:20Thames EstuarySea off ClactonOff Map M 6001
29802-12-44§08:31South BenfleetSouth Benfleet, Essex. Fell on golf course.Off Map M 229 05845' x 10'2
29902-12-44§11:09DagenhamDagenham.L 955 04340' x 10'
30002-12-44§20:29LambethRiver Thames near Waterloo Pier, Lambeth. Possible airburst.Q 754 997In River1
30102-12-44§21:34North StiffordGrays, Thurrock / North Stifford, Essex. Fell in field.R 044 98623' x 3'13
30203-12-44§06:13RainhamRainham, Essex. Fell in field.L 984 01838' x 7'25
30303-12-44§07:41WenningtonWennington, Essex. Fell on rubbish dump.Q 968 97844' x 11'
30403-12-44§09:29Burnham-on-CrouchBurnham-on-Crouch, Essex. Fell in river.Off Map M 374 142In River
30503-12-44§09:46WoolwichAirburst Woolwich/Bexley borderQ 8795Airburst2
30603-12-44§10:29HerongateHerongate, Essex.M 078 10366' x 16'2
30703-12-44§12:31DownhamWickford / Downham, Essex. Fell on waste ground.M 174 12033' x 8'6
30803-12-44§14:51ErithIn Thames, ErithQ 9797In River
30903-12-44§17:08Grays ThurrockGrays Thurrock, Essex. Fell in field.R 065 95246' diameter2
31003-12-44§21:09BexleyBexley / Roseacre Road, WellingQ 912 94417' x 4'146
31104-12-44§02:34TilburyRailway sidings at Tilbury, Essex.R 087 941Direct Hit6
31204-12-44§09:36CanewdonCanewdon, Essex. Fell on marshland.Off Map M 344 14153' x 18'
31305-12-44§21:39DagenhamDagenham.L 935 01448' diameter1
31405-12-44§22:31RettendenWoodham Ferrers / Rettenden, Essex.Off Map M 228 16835' x 11'
31506-12-44§02:31BillericayGreat Burstead / Billericay, Essex (airburst).M 101 116Airburst
31606-12-44§02:35CamberwellVarcoe Road, CamberwellQ 792 971Direct Hit1837
31706-12-44§04:46Woodham FerrersWoodham Ferrers, Essex.Off Map M 253 18626' x 8'
31806-12-44§05:47North SeaSea off Foulness.Off Map N 0010 approxIn Sea
31906-12-44§07:15CrayfordMyrtle Farm, CrayfordQ 956 95732' x 6'
32006-12-44§10:04Off ClactonSea off Clacton.Off Map M 9643In Sea
32106-12-44§23:08St. MaryleboneDuke Street, Marylebone. Direct hit on Red Lion public house.L 727 003Direct Hit96
32207-12-44§01:23HackneyHackneyL 803 02920' x 5'1911
32307-12-44§02:03Gt. SalingBraintree / Great Saling, Essex.M 149 42927' x 8'
32407-12-44§20:08HayesHayesL 526 01131' x 5'12
32508-12-44§03:24WansteadWoodford / allotments in Wanstead.L 852 09639' x 9'3
32608-12-44§12:45CanewdonCanewdon, Essex. Fell in field.Off Map M 323 12618' x 5½'
32708-12-44§22:11Brentwoodopen field at Brentwood, Essex.M 053 11747' x 15'1
32808-12-44§23:51Tiptreeopen field at Tiptree, Essex.Off Map M 405 37254' x 16'
32909-12-44§04:50HornchurchHornchurch. Fell on flying field at aerodrome.L 977 03534' x 7'
33009-12-44§05:24Canvey IslandCanvey Island. Sea wall breached for a length of 25 feet.M 215 045In Mud
33109-12-44§07:45EnfieldEnfield.L 780 14738' x 9'812
33209-12-44§22:36Bowers GiffordBowers Gifford. Fell on golf course.M 196 05565' x 4½'
33310-12-44§00:38ErithAirburst over Lower Road, ErithQ 950 977Airburst23
33410-12-44§04:50LewishamHafton Road, Catford / LewishamQ 836 91915' x 6'1029
33510-12-44§20:50off N. ForelandNorth ForelandOff Map M 8221In Sea
33612-12-44§01:21Off ClactonSea off Clacton, Essex.Off Map M 6020 approxIn Sea
33712-12-44§04:24SouthwarkAirburst over SouthwarkQ 7598Airburst6
33812-12-44§05:15GreenwichMorden Terrace School, Lewisham Road, GreenwichQ 823 954Direct Hit17
33912-12-44§06:23Burnham-on-CrouchFarm field at Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex.Off Map M 459 14573' x 6'
34012-12-44§17:58ChislehurstHockenden Farm, Sidcup / Farm at Chislehurst.Q 938 87746' x 8'
34112-12-44§20:34CreekseaCreeksea.Off Map M 381 15440' x 14'
34212-12-44§22:42KensingtonNotting Hill / Kensington.L 683 000Direct Hit231
34313-12-44§00:18Off BradwellSea off Clacton / Sea, off Bradwell, Essex.Off Map M 5921In Sea
34413-12-44§03:23Great WarleyLittle Warley, Essex.M 037 09125' x 3'
34513-12-44§07:21WoolwichWendover Road, Eltham / WoolwichQ 862 94726' x 6'235
34613-12-44§22:05Off FoulnessSea off Foulness.Off Map M 4915In Sea
34713-12-44§22:33Canvey IslandPitsea Marshes / Canvey Island, Essex. M 206 016In River
34814-12-44§01:09Wallasea IslandMouth of River Roach / River Crouch, Essex.M 430 11435' diameter
34914-12-44§02:16SouthgateBowes Park / Southgate.L 746 11124' diameter115
35014-12-44§04:59NuthampsteadNuthampstead, Hertfordshire Fell on airfield used by US Airforce.L 865 53024' x 5'
35114-12-44§17:18SouthwarkLawson Street, SouthwarkQ 771 98334' diameter12124
35214-12-44§20:42Off FoulnessSea off Foulness.Off Map M 5513In Sea
35314-12-44§21:06St. StambridgeRiver Roach in Great Stambridge, Essex.Off Map M 343 086In River
35414-12-44§23:39WrittleHighwood, Near Chelmsford / Writtle, Essex.M 091 22823' x 3'
35515-12-44§00:14LatchingdonRiver Crouch, Rayleigh / Latchingdon, Essex (airburst).Off Map M 3217Airburst
35615-12-44§02:03High OngarHigh Ongar, Essex.M 028 22824' x 6'
35715-12-44§02:50Off ShoeburynessSea off Shoeburyness.Off Map M 6010 approxIn Sea
35815-12-44§04:06ChislehurstJevington Way, Mottingham, Sidcup / Chislehurst.Q 852 92120' x 3'757
35915-12-4420:48Off ClactonSea off Clacton.Off Map M 6733In Sea
36016-12-44§10:43Off BradwellSea off ClactonOff Map M 5123In Sea
36116-12-44§20:13Off FoulnessSea off Foulness.Off Map M 6010 approxAirburst
36217-12-44§16:02LeytonLeyton / Leyton. Direct hit on factory.L 807 062Direct Hit117
36317-12-44§18:54CamberwellAlbany Road, CamberwellQ 776 97131' x 7'1760
36418-12-4400:57TillinghamTillingham MarshesOff Map M 475 195In Mud
36518-12-4416:29ClactonClacton foreshoreOff Map M 619 324On cliff
36619-12-44§00:47MaldonHazeleigh Lodge, Maldon, Essex./Maldon, Essex.Off Map M 279 22158' x 13'
36719-12-44§01:25ChelmsfordChelmsford, Essex. Direct hit on factory.M 154 26312' diameter3935
36819-12-44§06:04IlfordIlford.L 877 09850' x 13'
36919-12-44§11:31TillinghamBradwell Marshes / Tillingham Marshes.Off Map M 488 221In Mud
37019-12-44§23:25LewishamBoveney Road, LewishamQ 800 93133' diameter13
37120-12-44§02:59CrayfordCrayford, near basement shelter of schoolQ 962 94128' x 9'116
37220-12-44§12:08Warley HillBrentwood, Essex.M 034 10525' diameter327
37320-12-44§14:16Little BerkhamsteadBerkhamstead Hill, Hertfordshire.L 740 28324' x 12'
37420-12-44§16:59NorthawCuffley / Northaw, Hertfordshire.L 724 21925' x 12'
37520-12-44§19:21Off FoulnessSea off Foulness.Off Map M 5911In Sea
37620-12-44§20:01NevendonNevendon, Essex.M 181 08854' x 15'
37721-12-44§01:44Noak HillNoak Hill, Essex (airburst).L 982 118Airburst
37821-12-44§04:33RamsdenBrentwood / Rayleigh, Essex.M 159 11617' x 4'
37921-12-44§04:40RawrethRayleigh / Rawreth.Off Map M 224 10640' x 12'
38021-12-44§09:43BradwellBradwell-on-SeaOff Map M 462 26040' x 13'
38121-12-44§10:43FairsteadFairstead.Off Map M 226 35130' x 9'
38221-12-44§16:17BarkingBarkingL 910 03337' x 5'329
38323-12-44§18:49BexleyNorthumberland Avenue, BexleyQ 892 94426' x 4'159
38423-12-44§19:40HackneyHackney (Airburst)L 7903Airburst
38523-12-44§20:28Off FoulnessSea off Shoeburyness.Off Map M 7010 approxIn Sea
38623-12-44§23:46West RowMildenhall areaOff Map M 125 93244' x 8'
38724-12-44§07:38WansteadWansteadL 855 07234' diameter
38824-12-44§09:38EastwoodEastwoodOff Map M 288 06944' x 8'
38924-12-44§23:24Lambourne EndEpping areaL 926 13330' x 8'
39026-12-44§21:05NazeingNazeing. Fell in field.L 841 24126' x 9'
39126-12-44§21:26IslingtonIslington.L 754 04140' x 11'7286
39226-12-44§21:40CorringhamPitsea / Corringham.M 163 01747' diameter
39326-12-44§21:56DartfordBroke-up in mid-air over DartfordQ 982 94643' diameter
39427-12-4401:19NavestockNavestockM 005 17038' x 12'
39527-12-4402:48BillericayDownham areaM 149 15023' x 6'
39627-12-4404:56Waltham Holy CrossWaltham Holy CrossL 846 16028' x 8'
39729-12-44§06:14SouthminsterSouthminster.Off Map M 407 16735' x 12'
39829-12-44§09:06MundonMundonOff Map M 309 22644' x 12'
39929-12-44§09:16Burnham-on-CrouchBurnham - on - CrouchOff Map M 429 15642' x 7'
40029-12-44§19:31TillinghamTillingham.Off Map M 458 21317' x 5'
40129-12-44§19:54HuttonE of Brentwood.M 084 12327' x 7'
40229-12-44§20:06BarkingBarking.L 921 02344' diameter
40329-12-44§22:39CroydonAirburst Croham Valley Road, CroydonQ 781 83016' x 3'3
40429-12-44§23:20ShotgateShotgate, 2 miles E of Wickford.M 211 11437' x 10'
40530-12-44§08:59West HamPrince Regent Lane, West Ham.L 854 00340' diameter740
40630-12-44§20:58IlfordIlford.L 877 08021' x 3'68
40730-12-44§21:34NorthfleetNorthfleet, fell in a streamR 059 923In river
40830-12-44§22:34Sutton-at-HoneSutton-at-Hone - In OrchardQ 987 88030' x 8'
40930-12-44§22:47Stansgate AbbeyStansgate Abbey, Essex. Fell in River Blackwater.Off Map M 3725 approxIn River
41030-12-44§22:49OrsettOrsett, Essex. Fell in field.M 095 01520' x 4'
41131-12-44§00:35Ramsden HeathRamsden Heath, Essex. Fell in field.M 163 14341' x 11'
41231-12-44§02:09EnfieldEnfield. Fell on golf course.L 772 18426' x 7'
41331-12-44§02:48Rush GreenRush Green, Romford, Essex.L 938 06334' diameter
41431-12-44§03:40Noak HillNoak Hill, Essex. Fell in wood.L 987 13322' x 9'
41531-12-44§19:12Stow MariesStow Maries, Essex.Off Map M 273 17037' x 12'1
41631-12-44§19:46Off ShoeburynessMargate. In the seaOff Map M 7000 approxIn Sea
41731-12-44§20:41Canvey IslandCanvey Island, Essex. Fell on grassland.M 216 03826' x 6'
41831-12-44§23:38IslingtonIslington.L 751 06523' x 9'1829
134December 1944 Totals2881081
Transcription of The Ministry of Home Security list of "BIG BEN" (V2 rocket) incidents in December 1944. National Archives Document Reference - AIR 20/4126 - Data used by permission of The National Archives
 Posted by at 11:48 am

  14 Responses to “December 1944”

  1. I was born and brought up in and around Billericay Essex, although I have now lived in Hampshire for 26 years.
    It is shocking to finally discover that my old home town was right in both the V1 and V2 flight paths, and that many fell in the area.
    Also the reality of the horror of a V2 strike, really sank home when read about the Hoffmans Ball Bearing factory in nearby Chelmsford, which took a direct hit

    The following is from the excellent website

    “At 1.28 a.m. on 19th December 1944 a German V-2 rocket struck the extreme western edge of the roof of Hoffmann’s C Factory’s Cage & Assembly Department, which fronted Rectory Lane, approximately level with the garden of 11 Henry Road which runs off the northern side of Rectory Lane.
    The rocket exploded before reaching the earth bank which ran alongside the outer west wall of the factory, leaving a small crater, 12 feet across by 6 feet deep. The explosion devastated a large area of Hoffmann’s, demolished properties in Henry Road, damaged hundreds of others in the town, and caused Chelmsford’s greatest loss of life from a single war-time incident.
    Official figures put the total fatalities from the incident at 39 dead and 138 injured, including 47 seriously so. Thirty of the dead were workers on the night shift at Hoffmann’s, while nine others died in Henry Road, including 2 year-old Pamela who died from severe shock when 6 Henry Road was hit by the blast from the explosion. Her body was removed to the wartime emergency mortuary established at the former race course grandstand at Galleywood Common.”
    The bomb dropped on a building in which, only a quarter of an hour before, men women, and girls had been singing Christmas carols to the accompaniment of a Salvation Army Band. The band had left the building when the crash came, but they returned and helped with the rescue work/ Many people were still humming the familiar Christmas tunes, when the explosion ripped through the building”

    In 2009, Mr Bert Upson, a survivor of the blast recalled his story to the Essex Chronicle.
    “I was in the middle of setting up a machine and woomph!,” said Mr Upson, 88.

    “Things flew everywhere and the place was in total darkness. A few minutes later came the flames.

    “I shouted at the girls to get out. Someone said the canteen hadn’t been hit so I told them to go there.

    “I kept four fellows back with me and said we had to do whatever we could to help.

    “We got bodies and people who had been injured and half dragged and half carried them out to the surgery.

    “Sister Ham was in charge that night and, after taking several bodies down, she screamed ‘don’t bring any more, only bring people who are injured, not missing arms and legs’, so we had to leave the bodies of the dead at the surgery door”

    Mr Upson and his colleagues spent the rest of the night rescuing people from the burning rubble of the factory and several homes in Henry Road which had been “smashed to pieces”. In total 39 people were killed that night.

    “We kept going until seven o’clock in the morning when American airmen arrived from Boreham in their trucks. We did quite a lot during those hours. We did what we could.”

    The soles of Mr Upson’s shoes burnt through on the smouldering debris as he ferried the injured, dead and dying.

    Hoffmann’s later gave him 30 shillings and seven coupons to buy himself a new pair.

    The attack deeply affected him at the time, and he still thinks about the many young lives that were lost that night.

    “I went off and didn’t go home for a day or two, where I was I don’t know, but I just couldn’t take it.

    “A lot of them that were killed were young lads and such lovely girls.”

    Sadly, bombsights also attracted theives, it was discovered that four gas meters from damaged houses had been opened and approximately £2/6/0 stolen from them.

  2. My mother, Ursula Latchfield, who passed away on 9th July 2018 and who was 17 at the time of the missile-strike, had just passed through that department, on an errand, when the bomb struck.

  3. 12th December 1944: 229 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, Kensington. When the V2 hit, my grandmother Caroline Alice Cozens (a widow 79 yrs old) was in her kitchen in the basement of the house. My cousin (Frederick Smith) was in the flat on the top floor when the V2 hit. My cousin fell 4 floors – he survived with a shoulder and leg injury. He recovered well but always had a stoop when walking. My grandmother was pulled from the ruins with just shock and a few bruises. When the firemen arrived, my Uncle (son-in–law to C.A. Cozens) who lived in the house discovered that he had come to the wreckage of his home. When the demolition squad arrived, another cousin’s husband was in that squad. A real family affair! I have visited Kensington Archives and have seen the destruction that took place. It was very fortunate that the casualty list wasn’t much higher.

    • 12th December 1944;: Can I add to my comments, please, 229 Lancaster Road was a type of mews house, with an archway entrance to the horses ‘stables, housing horses from the milkman, rag & bone, butcher, etc. All the horses were killed..

  4. my father survived the v2 attack on bowes road 14th dec 1944 a direct hit on his house and synagogue next door but lost his mother and two sisters in hit

  5. My mum, Phyllis Joan Webb, was killed by the V2 strike on the Hoffmans Factory, we lived at 7 Henry Road. I understand we were in the same bedroom and it was the first time for weeks she had gone to bed in the bedroom rather than sleeping downstairs, as she had the flu. I was apparently saved by the Wardrobe and rescued by an American Serviceman to whom I am sure I owe my life! Also, I wish to express my gratitude to the Hospital Staff who looked after me , I believe I was there for around 17 days, as I understand it, this was with regard to my sight.

    • Hello Janice My parents lived at 8 Henry Road my father was on duty as a spotter that night and saw the rocket hit. The only way he new which house was ours was because we had a yellow privet hedge and leaves were sticking out of the rubble. He fund me still asleep in my cot although I had fallen down from the top floor. He broke the rungs of the cot and snatched me out, I didn’t have a scratch. A family of all boys took me in and looked after me. The American servicemen made a human chain and moved brick by brick until they found my mothers foot, the mattress had wrapped round her and a doctor said she had minutes to live as she was suffocating. They took a chance and pulled and out she came. I was told there was a front page newspaper article saying it was a miracle that I had survived without a scratch. My father also helped people in Hoffmans and saw some terrible sights in there. My mother said that she told the young woman next door to bang on the wall if she was frightened. Also that she was killed by a rafter that pinned her to her bed and that her baby daughter had survived. My mums name was Edith and my dad was know as Win

  6. My mum told me that she was working on the night shift when the V2 hit Hoffmans where she worked on inspections of ball bearings. She considered herself very lucky as the lady working next to her, who they affectionately called ” aunt Eadie” was killed outright. Mum said she didn’t know much about it other than seeing flames when she eventually came round. The fear of being burned was what scared her. They treated her for head wounds and said she should go to hospital which seemed to worry her even more , she refused. She said she felt embarrassed when mum, with her head bandaged up and her friend, arm in sling arrived at Ipswich rail station with people staring at them, they were glad to get home. Mums maiden name was Connie Baldwin, she passed away in 2004 aged 83.

  7. Incident Number 358

    The rocket hit my fathers aunts house in Jevington Way in December 1944. The impact killed his aunt Winn and injured his cousin John Sullivan, they were in bed together when it struck blowing the pair of them across the road killing Winn instantly and badly injuring John. He went to hospital with many cuts, burns etc and a badly broken leg, when he was discharged he went to live with my dad in Exford road. My dad lost touch with cousin John some years ago but remembers the incident well even now in his mid 80’s. Thanks Tony

  8. My mum kathleen was a born on June 24th 1944 she was living down Costed Manor Brentwood Essex when a V1 hit near there unsure of exactly where but her older sisters Dorothy and Peggy remember the glass breaking on the house, my mum was in a cot and the glass landed next to her head they then went into the anderson shelter. I believe that the intended target would probably have been Highwood hospital as that was the most obvious big installation near there looking like a factory with large chimney and long buildings. If anyone knows exactly where it hit down Costed Manor the newest part there when I was a kid in the 70’s was the retreat I also worked at Highwood in later years before it was demolished for housing.

  9. V2 strike in sea wall Clacton on Sea 18th Dec 16.29

    During WW2 several boys would gather on the roof a building opposite the War memorial on Clacton sea front. Many events of interest were witnessed but on the 18th of December the usual four or five lads would gather awaiting anything of interest when suddenly there was a massive explosion to our right. I remember that I fell to the floor expecting explosions, as I looked to see what had happened I saw a large column of smoke and debris rising followed at once by the most deafening whoosh about 6 or 7 seconds after the explosion. This happened appx a quarter of a Mile away on the cliff face s/w of the pier. There was damage to 346 properties 65 seriously damaged and 12 casualties.

  10. My parents lived in Footscray Road Eltham a third of a mile from 11 Westmount Road Eltham where the V2 landed. Fortunately the full charge did not explode but still killed an 11 year old girl and injured 29 others. My father had gone to work but my mother was at home awaiting my imminent birth. She was in shock after the explosion and I believe windows and ceiling plaster were damaged in the first floor flat.
    Three days later on Monday 4th December I was born – on my due date. (I have been very punctual all my life!)
    I did not discover this until i was 60 – I am 76 now- and I often reflect how close my mother, then myself, my younger brother, my 4 children and 7 grandchildren came to never existing.

  11. The V2 that hit Westmount Road Woolwich !/12/1944 did not fully explode luckily as my mother was a few hundred yards away at 49 Footscray Road Eltham eating a meal as a treat when the ceiling came down and the windows blew in. My brother has also commented on this and, considering how far away that V2 was launched to have landed that close, we are certainly lucky to be here. Interestingly her cat ‘Mick’ [I think I was named after it] used to hide under the gas cooker some minutes before the air raid sirens went off so she and pop had advanced warning. I imagine it could not detect the V2s supersonic speed as the V2 arrived before its sound. My mother was rescued picking glass and plaster from the plate by a warden before she could do herself damage. The current lockdown is difficult to deal with but wartime problems are unimaginable to most of us lucky ones not to have experienced it. It is a pity that we did not think to ask our relatives of their wartime experiences when we were younger as we were so far removed and the post war attitude was ‘forget and rebuild’. Think of all those Spitfires and Hurricanes that were scrapped!

  12. Wendover Road, Eltham, Woolwich – 13 December 1944

    My mother (aged 15), her older sister and younger brother were asleep in bed upstairs when the V2 landed in their back garden on the morning of 13 December. They awoke to find themselves lying in the front garden, essentially uninjured apart from scratches. Their mother had been in the kitchen with the dog and just had time to duck under the kitchen table. This saved her life. The house collapsed completely on top of her and she was buried for 6 hours before she was finally dug out. The dog died during this time. She was seriously burnt and spent 8 months in hospital having pioneering skin grafts which saved her leg. Her husband was at work and was fetched home by his brother to watch the efforts to rescue his wife.

    Sadly the two women in the house next door were killed when their house collapsed.

    My mother and her younger brother are still alive and well and their older sister died at the age of 90. They stood in the cold in their torn night clothes watching people trying to dig their mother out, not knowing if she was dead or alive, until eventually neighbours took them indoors. Needless to say, in those days they received no counselling and just had to get on with their lives while their mother hovered between life and death for some months and every single thing the family had owned had been destroyed. A very tough and resilient generation.

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