August 24th 1944 (20.20) V-1 Flying Bomb on Holmwood Road, Enfield
At 8.20pm a flying bomb came down on Holmwood Road, at Freezy Water in Enfield, landing in a builders’ yard. Ten houses were demolished, thirty badly damaged and another twelve hundred damaged. Over seventy people were seriously injured and although no one was killed by the direct blast a forty year old woman collapsed and died of heart failure shortly afterward. It says something of how hugely shocking the power of the explosion could be. An air raid warden from Waltham Cross heard the bomb and came to Enfield to give assistance.
“In the pouring rain, I went over ~ and what an unholy mess! The bug had fallen in Holmwood Road, almost exactly on the houses on the right-hand side, flanking the builders’ yard. Air Raid Precaution vehicles and National Fire Service appliances, red lamped control cars, police, wardens, firemen, sightseers, all over the road. The roads and pavements a scrunching tinkling mass of broken glass, tiles, pieces of wood, corrugated iron, leaves, branches, and chunks of ‘doodle-bug’. In the fading light, a broken gas main flared through the rain, hissing and sending little rivulets of fire along the ground. Wardens and firemen checked from house to house, water dripping from their helmets and coats. As each house was visited and the occupants found to be all right, a chalked ‘O.K.’ would appear on the wall.
An Anderson shelter, erected indoors leaned drunkenly sideways through the rubble of a smashed house that consisted only of a front door and half a passage way; gaunt tile-less rafters poked ugly bare fingers skywards, ambulances manoeuvred with difficulty along the debris strewn streets. From out of houses the occupants were already sweeping piles of broken glass and plaster, and here and there a casualty with blood stained bandages was carried out to a waiting ambulance. Dirt, muddle, a stink from leaking gas pipes, wet sodden leaves, the eerie light of the burning main, all combined to make a scene of tragedy in what had only a bare few minutes before been a quiet little side-street. And it sticks in my mind, how the rain poured down against my glasses, distorting the scene and making it difficult to see. The sirens wailed again before I left, but this time, all was quiet”.
Taken with permission from the Diary of an Air Raid Warden 1939-1945. E.J.Carter of Waltham Abbey. Waltham Abbey Historical Assoc.