The period covered by this edition of the Journal, the summer months, coincides with the worst phase of the German V (Vengeance) bombing campaign of World War Two. Between 100-150 ‘flying bombs’ (originally called P. Planes - pilotless planes) and later the V1 were launched daily in July 1944 at Britain and aimed at London. Although many were intercepted by fighters and anti-aircraft artillery, plenty penetrated the defences. Four explosions in Dulwich where there was significant loss of life are to be commemorated this June, July and August. There were numerous other V1’s which exploded locally on open ground or on homes where the civilian population were protected by shelters. Morale, which was initially very high, ( the DDay landings had successfully been made the month before), but the “We can take whatever Hitler tries to send us” expressions and banter about the raids were within just a few weeks replaced by demands for retribution at what was deemed uncivilised behaviour by the enemy at targetting the civilian population.
Morale did not crack but rather was replaced by a war-weariness and perhaps an increased determination to see it through. Precautions were taken but life still went on, sometimes normally, sometimes not. The destruction of Dulwich Picture Gallery , the science block and other buildings at Dulwich College and even the clubhouse of the Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club, all within a couple of weeks made it appear that all of Dulwich was being razed to the ground. The widespread carnage created concern about the possibility of looting from the numerous ruined properties and the South London Observer carried a report in a July 1944 issue that the Home Guard were being issued with live rounds with orders to shoot at looters.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to the victims of Lovelace Road and Rosendale Road on Sunday 23rd June 2013 at 12 noon (at the junction of Lovelace Road and Rosendale Road)
In commemoration of those killed in Rosendale Road on 23rd June 1944
Ethel Allen 75, Ann Simpson 71, Annie Simpson 36, James Smith 49
And those killed in Lovelace Road on 1st August 1944 by V1 flying bombs.
Ethel Jenkyn 53, Peter Jenkyn 16.
Bruce Cox remembers
Time at Alleyn’s was quite disrupted because of the V1’s and for a short period the school start time varied, depending on whether or not there had been a raid the night before. This was not very practical as we came from a very wide area and the sirens were not necessarily sounded everywhere. I usually biked to school with a friend, ‘Eddie’ Edwards who lived nearby but he was seldom ready and we often arrived only just in time. Fortunately he was also late on the morning of 12th July 1944. At about the time we should have been going along Gallery Road a flying bomb dropped in the road near Dulwich Picture Gallery, causing serious damage to the Gallery.
One sad, or lucky event of the flying bomb period was the death of Peter Jenkyn. He was about the closest friend I had at school. We were both 16; together in the same form, the Officer Training Corps, the Scouts, and did many things together. During the summer holidays of 1944 it was agreed that I would go to his place at 32 Lovelace Road, Dulwich and play with his train set. I did not have one.
For some reason I do not remember I went for a bike ride with another friend from Alleyn’s, John Neeld of Streatham, on the agreed day. A flying bomb hit Peter’s house full on and Peter and his mother were blown to pieces, little being left to identify them.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to World War 11 victims of Wood Vale on Saturday 6th July 2013 at 12 noon (near the junction with Lordship Lane)
In commemoration of those killed by a V1 flying bomb on 6th July 1944
Elsie Bayles 62, Jessie Bayles 59, Edwina Burbury 71, Theresa Chalmers 15, Arthur Clements 78, Mary Foulkes 67, Grace Gardner 19, Madeline Gardner 45, Alicia Lavinia Hawken 77, Alicia Pauline Hawken 47, John Kinsella 65, Selina Kirkland 63, Albert Smith 51, Louisa Smith 66.
A press report of this explosion which destroyed a tenement named White Gables at the Lordship Lane end of Woodvale in the early hours of Thursday 6th July 1944 says that because of the precarious state of the building which was partly collapsed, eleven of those killed were trapped in the semi-basement of the block and rescuers were unable to reach them until the following day.
The Dulwich Society will unveil a commemorative plaque to World War 11 victims of Park Hall Road on Sunday 7th July 2013 at 12 noon at the corner with Ildersley Grove.
In commemoration of those killed by a V1 flying bomb on 4th July 1944
Marjorie Brown 15, Robert Brown 49, William Brown 14