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The V1 Attack on the Guards' Chapel 1944
On Sunday 18 June 1944 the congregation assembled for morning service in the Guards’ Chapel in Wellington Barracks, St James’s Park, central London. The service started at 11 am. Lord Hay had read the first lesson, and the ‘Te Deum’ was about to begin, when the noise of a V1 was heard. The engine cut out. There was a brief silence, ‘an intensive blue flash’ and an explosion – and the roof collapsed, burying the congregation in ten feet of rubble.
This was the most deadly V1 attack of the Second World War, and Jan Gore’s painstakingly researched, graphic and moving account of the bombing and the aftermath tells the whole story. In vivid detail she describes the rescue effort which went on, day and night, for two days, and she records the names, circumstances and lives of each of the victims, and explains why they happened to be there.
Her minutely detailed reconstruction of this tragic episode in the V1 campaign against London commemorates the dead and wounded, and it gives us today an absorbing insight into the wartime experience of all those whose lives were affected by it.
This is the third release in a series that attempts to detail each aspect of air and paratroop operations on the night of 5/6 June 1944. The 6th Airborne Division was to support British Second Army and First Canadian Army; it's task was to seize and hold the left flank of the bridgehead. The 5th Parachute Brigade was to seize the ground each side of the bridges over the Canal du Caen and the Orne River, whilst on the same day seize and hold positions on the long wooded ridge beyond the waterways, running from Troarn in the south to the sea. This ridge with the bridges behind would eventually form…By Martin Bowman
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