Close to home

In a field near our house there is a large, almost exactly circular crater. Over the years I’d become convinced that it was where a bomb had fallen during the war. There is also a plaque on the wall of a local garden centre commemorating Polish Spitfire pilots who had been killed in a dogfight overhead. But I could never work out why bombs were being dropped this far west of London.

But then I got an answer. This area used to be the centre of the British furniture industry and those skills were required to make the Mosquito bomber, built in a local factory by De Havilland. The Germans had been trying to destroy the factory – hence the bomb craters and the dog fights.

This row of semi-detached houses were built in the thirties and so the owners would likely have been its first. Given the original two up two down configuration possibly a young family with children. The bomb crater is less than a quarter of a mile from our house. It’s a big crater and must have been a big bomb. The bomb blast would almost certainly have taken out all of the windows in the house.

I often think of the family sitting in here, terrified, during the raid. I will be thinking of them today and of the relief they must have felt when it was all over.