V2 Rocket Venturi, Sugden Avenue, 3rd December 1944.

Wickford History Comes Home.

Plans are being made to bring back to Wickford an important part of its wartime history.
In August 1984, Mr. Barry Myers of Southbourne Grove was having land cleared adjacent to his home, when a sinister looking object was uncovered. It transpired that it was the rocket motor, or as it’s known the rocket venturi, from the V2 rocket that exploded with great devastation in the area back in December 1944. It had lain partially covered where it fell, before being unearthed by contractors.
Mr. Myers had already made arrangements with a local scrappy to remove the near-ton object for £25:00 when along came this young lad and pointed out that it was an important piece of Wickford’s history and should be preserved. No, the gentleman was having none of it. But the wife, bless her, was clearly sympathetic to my plea. As always the lady won the argument and I had a new 1 ton problem, and a home to find for it. A quick phone around and Roger Pickett of the Thameside Aviation Museum, Coal House Fort, came to the rescue.
At a recent visit to the museum I asked the question, “if a home in Wickford could be found, would the Museum be prepared for it to come back to Wickford?”.
I received a positive result and, working together with Mr. Steve Newman and Roger Pickett, plans are in hand to return the V2 rocket motor to Wickford, for eventual display. Steve Newman is responsible for the Wickford Memorial project, and anyone who knows him will know that he works tirelessly for Wickford, preserving the town’s past to the highest standards. Steve has agreed to care and restore the rocket motor until such a time when it can go on public display. Thank you Steve Newman.

Rocket venturi about to be transported.
Trevor Williams with his 'find'.

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  • How interesting, this article brought back a story my mother told me about the V2 in Sugden Avenue. Her aunt, Florence Howson, lived in Studland Avenue, and the blast blew out the windows in the conservatory at the back of her bungalow. She suffered bad facial injuries from glass shards and her face was badly infected. It took a long time for her to recover.

    I also recognise the name of Tom Bray. As a kid I used to play with him and his sister Mary.

    Happy days!

    By John Lyons (11/04/2022)
  • This is a wonderful find, great photos and a great project.
    I can remember playing as a child in the crater left by the rocket. It actually fell on the north side of Branksome Avenue, about 50 feet to the east of the old red letterbox at the northern end of Sugden Ave. The V2 was armed with a 1 ton payload.
    My mother, Annie Bray, was fixing Sunday lunch in the nearby bungalow when it fell, and she was quite seriously injured, but survived, fortunately for me as she was 2 months pregnant at the time.
    My father told me that he spent days sifting the rubble to find her rings which she had removed and hung on a cup hook while cooking. Luckily he was successful.
    The bungalow was completely demolished but was rebuilt in brick under the War Damages Act.
    I was born in July 1945 and spent an idyllic childhood living in Sugden Ave, and when very young that crater was a great place to play as there were some aluminium rocket parts around, probably parts of fuel pumps.

    By Tom Bray (31/10/2018)
  • What great photos…..I lived at Milestone Cottages during the time when this rocket exploded. I was 13 yrs old at the time and remember standing in the doorway to the dinning room and my mother sweeping the mat in front of the fireplace.The noise was terrific as I shot straight under a table as my mother just froze and could not move. One side of the cottage was damaged but we were so lucky.

    By Barbara Gerrens nee Turnbull (29/04/2018)

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