Veteran Stories:
Frank Britten

Army

  • Frank Britten, 2010.

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"We ran over to have a look at the hole that it made in there; and you could put a fair size house in this hole where it blew."

Transcript

This particular morning, we were lined up at the mess tents where we lined up for breakfast in the morning and, this is around 8:00, and we could hear this doodlebug [German V-1 flying bomb] coming in. And it was getting lower and lower and lower, and lower…. Somebody says to us, let’s hit the foxholes [slit trenches]. So we went under there, and just in front of us was a golf course. It would be about, oh, not too far away, it would be about maybe a four minute walk to the golf course. This doodlebug went down in the middle of the golf course. We ran over to have a look at the hole that it made in there; and you could put a fair size house in this hole where it blew. There wasn’t too much left of that doodlebug, I tell you. She was just in little bits and pieces all over. So if that had hit our camp, we’d have had her. I was in London on a pass. So coming back, it would be about, maybe 11:00 and halfway up the hill, well, there was a station, a little station up there. So that’s where we had to get out and then we were just hoping that we could catch the liberty truck [United States army transport vehicle] coming out of Epsom, going up the hill. This hill would be above 15 miles long, winding up. When we got up to this street corner, we had to turn right and go down. There was a house here; and just before we went to make that turn, we didn’t quite get to the corner, we heard this crash ̶ a big bomb came down. It hit behind this house and it shattered all the windows in that house. Shook the inside of it and everything else. The blast from that, there was a pub way over in this far corner here, it blew the windows all out of that. Our vehicle was here, we had a canvas on top of our truck; it cut the canvas out and never touched a man. Hard to believe that. And we went in the ditch, it wasn’t really a ditch, it was off an embankment like. We rushed to that house to see if there was any people in there. There was a lady, the lady of the house was there and we met her, but her husband, he was stunned; and I can see him now at the dining room table and he was going around in circles, like this. He was stunned. But his wife seemed to be pretty good. And she says, I have a baby upstairs. We went upstairs and had a look. The baby was all covered in plaster, but wasn’t hurt. That was quite something, to think that blast, the way it come, that it cut the canvas off of that and never touched a man. You know that’s unreal. You tell somebody that, they just say that’s a tall story, but that’s what really happened.
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