|On the 3rd October, after a lull which had lasted since 18th September, the V2 attacks on London
re-commenced, with the first one falling in Wanstead. The Nazi's were able to do this because of the Allied failure
at Arnhem and the subsequent oppurtunity for them to re- position their rocket units in the Hague. It was not
until 10th November that Churchill admitted that "we are under attack again" and the press were able to give
details of the Rocket attacks.
|The last winter of the war
|The attacks continued at a steady rate until the last missile in March 1945.
The V2's never reached the scale of their forerunners the V1 and the highest number experienced in the area of
South London that I have studied was 9 in the week commencing 1st January 1945.
Inspite of the lower numbers the V2 was a very terrifying and destructive weapon.
Because of the lack of warning the V2 delivered death from the sky without any chance of shelter or protection.
Indeed there was little point in using Anderson or Morrison shelters as the V2's penetrating capabilites rendered
them useless. Only the deepest tube stations or deep level shelters could be considered totally safe.
The V2, although less in number, was a much deadlier weapon than the V1. The Death rate per missile for the V1
was 2.70 but for the V2 11.06 (figures for S.London area of Study)
These more deadly results were as a results of the missiles penetration and concentrated blast which caused
much greater destruction at the epicentre than the V1, as well as the lack of warning.
The V2 made a crater sometimes ten feet deep. It caused an earthquake effect which cracked washbasins a 1/4 of
a mile away. Even a few miles away floorboards shuddered,window frames shook and clouds of soot blew out of
The brunt of the V1 attacks had been in the South London. The focus now shifted and the East and North
Eastern side were the worst hit with Ilford recording the highest total (35) but South London was still to endure a
considerable amount of V2's.
This distribution of missiles was simply caused by the launch being from the Netherlands, from the East and
short-falling Rockets therefore struck that side of London.
Londoners had been blasted out of their homes in some cases time and time again during the Flying bomb
period, and when it was thought that was over this new terror arrived. They were tired, weary and it was now cold.
Also after Duncan Sandy's premature statement about the "Battle for London being over" there was anger at the
Tens of thousands of people had no roofs,no windows, no running water. Repairs had been carried out at a
vigoruous pace after the V1 attacks but there was far too much of a back log and many waited months for glass in
their windows or tiles on their roofs.
People fell ill in large numbers with Flue and other winter illnesses. They felt that the war in Europe would not
last much longer and desperately did not want to be killed by "one of the last bombs". During the blitz there had
been a sense of community, a stoic attitude, Britain at its finest hour. The V2 attacks caused a different response.
Londoners were terrrified. One comptemporary report describes "Brixton women preying in the street for the
war to stop" People felt vunerable at all times of day and night.
The Rocket attack, the final terror, continued until March 1945 when the allied advances into Europe curtailed it.
Up to the end a steady rate of missiles struck. The death toll was relentess. .One of the worst tragedies in London
was just before the end of the attacks when 134 died at Hughes Mansions in Stepney on the 25th March 1945
The worst tragedies in South London were : (death toll in brackets).
Adelaide Avenue Brockley SE4 17th September 1944 (14)
Shardeloes Road Brockley SE4 1st November 1944 (36)
Etherow Street East Dulwich SE22 1st November 1944 (24)
Hazlehurst Road Tooting SW17 9th November 1944 (35)
New Cross Woolworths SE14 25th November 1944 (168
Varcoe Road Bermondsey SE16 6th December 1944 (20)
Bagshot Street Camberwell SE5 17th December 1944 (17)
Morton Place Lambeth SE1 4th January 1945 (42)
Adolphus Street Deptford SE8 9th January 1945 (15)
Panmure Road Sydenham SE26 14th January 1945 (14)
Borough High Street SE1 22nd January 1945 (35
Finland Road Brockley SE4 2nd February 1945 (24)
Marnock Road Brockley SE4 11th Febuary 1945 (14)
Waite Street Peckham SE15 14th Febuary 1945 (18)
Folkestone Gardens SE14 7th March 1945 (53)