March 25th 1945, 11.00pm Mapleton Road, Enfield
With V-2 still being fired so near to the end of the war shows something of the desperation of the German armed forces. Still firing from the Hague, launching Battery 3/485 fired the V-2 at 22.56 hours. Hitting Mapleton Road and Broadfield Square. The rocket fell on the pavement and front garden of 113, Mapleton road, destroying nine houses and damaged over seven hundred more. The rocket left a crater 25ft wide by 15ft deep and a number of persons trapped in their badly shattered homes. Over 1,100 other houses were damaged.
One medical officer remembers arriving to discover absolute chaos with more spectators than helpers and victims of the explosion wandering about hopelessly while holding on to bits of bedding. The roads were strewn with broken bricks, glass and other debris and police officers were struggling ‘officiously’ to control the situation. As if the night was not grim enough it began to rain in torrents. At 2:20am two searchlights were brought in to help rescue operations as well as search dogs.
Eleven people were killed and over one hundred seriously injured and taken to hospital. Thirty people made homeless went to a local rest centre. Rescue workers toiled for hours with the help of specially trained dogs but even in the chaos and devastation the spirit of local people wasn’t dulled as many hung Union Jack flags from the damaged houses.
Four other victims were actually missing. They had been coming back from a party at Ponders End when the rocket hit almost where they walked. A coroner officially designated them as victims nearly four months afterward.
On the night, in the wrecked and windowless houses, people gathered together by candlelight to talk and comfort each other on what had happened. One person rememberewd the scene – ‘One man, who had been on night work, arrived home to find his house wrecked and empty, his wife and six children being in hospital. A neighbour said that the roof and ceilings in his home had all collapsed but the pictures still hung straight on the walls and four eggs which were placed in a vase remained intact.’
The Enfield Weekly Herald gave more particulars of the incident.
“The bomb landed in a small open space between two blocks of buildings. One end house nearest the crater caught fire, and after the outbreak had been extinguished by the N.F.S. a charred body was found. Surrounding houses were damaged. People were trapped in their beds in the upper rooms. Rescue men worked heroically, and even before they were on the job local residents who had escaped injury were busy helping their less fortunate neighbours.
The following day, folk who had lost their homes were busy salvaging some of their possessions. In defiance to the Hun, flags were flown from some of the wrecked buildings. The various A.R.P. services and other organisations performed good work. The homeless were accommodated at a rest centre, and the W.V.S. established their canteen on the spot. House repair work was quickly put in hand, and in this there was assistance from a party of Naval ratings, who were mainly employed in replacing tiles”.