This is yet another example of a LANDMINE incident that took place in Wickford. This incident, a little further out, in the Nevendon area. Aerial Landmines were always dropped in 2s, and one of my stories already printed in the Wickford Archive - 'Silk Undies That Went With a Bang' - related to a LANDMINE that was dropped on the 21st September 1940. Some parachute canopies were made from the green material you see in the picture, some were made similar to conventional German parachutes and were off white/cream in colour.
Here can be seen a length of PARACHUTE MINE CORD from one of two land mines dropped on the 2nd October 1940. One mine fell on Wickford Cricket ground at the rear of the Swan Public House & Runwell Road, creating structural damage to lower Swan Lane, Runwell Road, Stilemans Cottages (demolished) and Wickford Broadway. The second mine fell on 'Standard House', Swan Lane, the home of the Pratt family. Mother, father and daughter Molly were underneath the stairs and were found suffocated by rescue workers when they found their bodies in the demolished building. My grandfather drove the fire appliance to this shout and never forgot what he'd seen. The same applied for Wickford Sargent in the Home Guard, Mr. Charlie Simpson, who lived in Alderney Gardens, just up the road from the incident. He was one of the rescue workers and took away with him two lengths of Parachute cord and some of the shrapnel from the mine. These items were presented to my collection by his young son, Roy, and Roy made me promise one thing. "When Dad came indoors the morning after the mine that had killed the Pratt family, he was covered in dust, dirt and grime, but his face was ashen as he told my Mother the Pratt family had been killed. In his hands he held a piece of the parachute LANDMINE cord which he had knotted in the centre. Dad put that there, please don't undo it!"
The mine made a direct hit on the 'Fibe' family's bungalow. They were out at the time. What can be seen is a length of Parachute cord found the morning after the incident by Shotgate Warden Mr. W.B. Parker, and centre of the photograph a button marked ARP from his service overalls. This wonderful piece of Wickford wartime history was presented to me by Mr. Dennis Parker his son. Wick Crescent LANDMINE incident 16th October 1940.