Damage caused by a V1 Flying bomb, St Helier Estate, Morden
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|Notes / History||Between June 1944 and March 1945 London came under attack from the Luftwaffe’s V1 Flying Bombs, unmanned guided planes each of which dropped a ton of high explosive. The unmistakable noise of their pulse jet engines, which cut out after a predetermined mileage, filled Londoners with terror as they counted down to the subsequent explosions.
A number of these bombs - commonly known as Doodlebugs - fell on the St. Helier Estate, a Morden housing development built over an area of 825 acres in the 1930s. Official statistics show that Merton was hit by 35 of the V1 bombs during this nine month period. Croydon, with it’s all important airport, was top of the list of London boroughs with 141 V1 hits.
One former resident of the estate recalled how he and his friends gradually got acclimatised to the V1 attacks: ‘I remember the buzz bomb periods when we used to be terrified at night because we would be in our shelter. Hearing them come over and then the sudden cut out and then the ten seconds before the explosion took place. I remember being blasé and we used to stand and watch them’ Ron Hobbs (Reminiscences of St. Helier Estate)