The tragedy at Weald House
Tue Dec 11 2018 
Kentish Towns
edenbridge  
kent
YOU ARE HERE > COMMUNITY > IN THE PAST > CROCKHAM HILL
>
 
Kentishtowns
Kentishtowns
The tragedy at Weald House, Crockham Hill, during the last war.

In 1944, Little Mariners at Froghole (Crockham Hill) was being used by the LCC as a home for evacuated children, but the house was severely damaged by incendiaries and the children and staff moved to Weald House (now Hoplands) on the edge of Crockham Hill Common.

In the early hours of Friday 30 June 1944 a flying bomb (doodlebug) came over, apparently struck a tree on Mariners Hill and was deflected onto Weald House. Twentyone children and eight female staff were killed in the tragedy - Kent's largest single civilian loss during World War II.


(Oliver Fielding-Clark's autobiography, Unfinished Conflict contains a piece about this - he was Vicar of C Hill at the time and one of the first on the scene.)

All the victims were buried in Edenbridge churchyard, where you can find the memorial.

Click the image (right) to enlarge.

Click Here to enlarge
There was one survivor Peter Findley, then a year-old infant with measles who had been put in another house for isolation. Over the years Mr Findley has been trying to find details of his mother, who was killed in the tragedy. He lives in Yorkshire and has visited both Edenbridge and Crockham Hill several times with his wife, and has so far managed to locate a woman who worked at Weald House at the time and knew his mother well.
 
Memorial Garden Edenbridge
 

Thanks to Mr Kev Reynolds for the above details.

Do you remember this tragic incident all those years ago:

e mail: inthepast@edenbridgetown.com

 
V1 “Doodlebug”


 

The blast had removed several large areas of roof tiles, but more noticeable were the frail old leaded light windows, which had been blown in, then almost sucked out. I suppose it was the local council, who came in a very short time and covered the openings with a heavy bitumised paper. After checking on the family I headed eagerly down to the wood.

A large area had been stripped clean and only the larger oaks albeit shaved of bark remained. The hot twisted wreckage lay a few feet from the crater, and I well remember pouring some warm water over it, and watching the steam rise.

In the following days we lost three or four cows due to a high tensile wire that was wound around the compressor of the V1, the explosion fragmented this, showering the grass for hundreds of yards with lethal short strands which were eaten by the poor unsuspecting beasts.