Bombings in the Wickford area during World War Two.

From Air Raid Damage Reports

The source of information for the attached are the Air Raid Damage Reports for the Brentwood division, compiled during World War Two.

The summary includes any entries for Wickford – Downham – Rawreth – Nevendon – Crays Hill – Ramsden –  Ramsden Heath – Ramsden Bellhouse.

In total there are 228 entries, of which some 111 have both no damage and no casualties.  Of the 228, 21 incidents did not involve enemy action.

In terms of time, the first incident reported is on May 25th 1940, and the last is on December 3rd 1944.

The most serious incidents were as follows:

         27.10.42.  Ramsden, 4 soldiers & 1 ATS private killed, and 9 soldiers injured, in an incident at the Military Workshop, due to accidental handling of McNaughton tubes.

         29.1.44.  Ramsden Heath, a hut demolished by high explosives, and 23 soldiers killed.

         17.6.44.  Wickford, 23 casualties, made up of 3 fatalities, 4 serious injuries, and 16 slight injuries; 70 people made homeless.

         3.12.44.  Wickford, 8 serious casualties, 16 slight injuries, 2 bungalows demolished, 6 properties damaged seriously, and 130 properties slightly damaged.

 

On a lighter note, in the “boys will be boys” category, two incidents stand out:

01.9.42.  2 small boys slightly injured at Ramsden Bellhouse, after playing with a cartridge which exploded.

and

11.7.44.  A 9 year old boy suffered injuries to his forehead, right arm and right leg, having found a “thunderflash” which he took home and ignited(!!)

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  • It’s previously been reported that the glider detached from its tow rope and which fell at Brock Hill, was not on its way to Arnhem.
    Arnhem, or to give it its correct term, ‘Operation Market Garden’, was the biggest airborne invasion of the Second World War. The first aerial drop on Arnhem took place on the 17th September 1944. Airborne forces were dropped by parachute or gliders. These consisted of mainly Horsa Gliders, a few Hadrian and the American Waco gliders were mainly directed towards Nimegen. This conflict saw just over 10,000 Airborne forces dropped into Holland to hold a number of bridges along the Rhine. The biggest prize was Arnhem Bridge, which would have given the allied forces access into Germany thus shorten the war by the coming Christmas. They were to capture the bridges and hold until relieved by 30 Corp.
    With a series of problems the assault failed and only two thousand Airborne Troops managed to evacuate back across the Rhine to safety. The withdrawal took place on the 25th September 1944, so the above mentioned glider was definitely not D-Day, 6th June 1944, – or Operation Market Garden/Arnhem on 17th September 1944 – 25th September 1944.

    By Trevor Williams (02/02/2020)
  • I have a copy of the report of bombing in and around Wickford. 23/11/40, 9 H.E.s exploded at the junction of London Road and Chelmsford Road, blocked the road for 8 days. Gas main and sewer main damaged, no casualties, 4 houses slightly damaged. Also 20 I.B.s burnt out in nearby fields.

    By BOBCROOT (03/12/2019)
  • I have a log of incidents from 1940 to 1944 that was given to my father. One of the incidents recorded on 07.09.40: “German Dornier crashed and burnt out between De Beauvoir Chase and railway bridge. 1 of crew dead and 1 safe.” My father wrote a note at the side saying, “14 yrs old, we were at the site within 20 minutes ‘donier’ still smouldering. Don Cox”.

    By Kevin Cox (03/02/2018)
  • In answer to Jo Cullen’s remarks, yes the said glider was in fact RN493. My mother attended the crash scene and watched a jeep and small field piece removed from the glider’s interior. The glider was probably being pulled by a Short Stirling, but try as I have to date I cannot ascertain the squadron or individual aircraft involved. This incident is also recorded in former wartime Sargent Brewer’s Police Diary of which I have a copy.

    By Trevor A. Williams (15/03/2014)
  • I too confirm that my sister, Sheila Ford, and I  saw this glider come down. Previously the sky was covered in bombers towing gliders at a very low altitude, possible not long after takeoff. It landed opposite the garage in Brock Hill, about two hundred yards up a farm track. If you read Sheila’s account of it on this web site you will know more. I think Jo is right.

    By BOBCROOT (04/03/2014)
  • My mother, Mrs. Doreen Williams, (nee Wright), confirmed Mr. Dennis Smith’s account, as she attended this incident and remembers well the jeep and field gun being retrieved from inside the glider.

    By T.A. Williams (09/06/2013)
  • I recall a glider becoming detached from its tow. Must have been at the time of Arnham. It came down in a field, after cutting through a hedge, just as if it had been cut by a hedging machine. In it were a group of men c/w a Jeep and a gun-on wheels. It was either at Poplars farm, or fields belonging to Mr Malinson.

    By Dennis Smith (03/06/2013)
  • Could this be the glider?  24th March 1945 at 08.15 a glider (RN493) came down in a field 150yds S.E.of Hillside, Brock Hill, Runwell. Crew of 5 uninjured. Machine only slightly damaged. No damage to property. (Billericay War Diaries)

    By Jo Cullen (16/05/2013)
  • Was there mention of the glider landing opposite the garage in Brock Hill during a fly past of a sky full of bombers towing gliders, sometime towards the end of the war. As a child I remember but want to know the date.

    By BOBCROOT (18/04/2013)

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