January 25th 1945 07.12am Gordon Hill, Enfield
On a chilly January morning as people were getting up and starting breakfast a long range V2 rocket came flying silently down. It struck in the back gardens at the top corner of Lavender Hill and Gordon Hill. Seven houses were completely obliterated with twelve others severely damaged. Twelve hundred more houses were effected as well as Gordon Hill station and Enfield Chase Hospital. Forty-six were seriously injured and eight people killed. They were…
Ellen Rose Kemish, aged 56. Elizabeth Hayes, aged 64.Herbert John Witney, aged 61. Roy Melvyn Cox, aged 6. Lillian Ellen Rolph, aged 28. Leonard Rolph, aged 28. Carol Ann Rolph, aged 3 weeks. Terrence Rolph, aged 22 months.
Among those killed instantly were Mrs Rolph, her son and her three week old baby. Mr Rolph was injured and died in hospital later that day. The family had gone to stay at her mother’s house on Gordon Hill for the first few weeks after the new baby was born. They had been planning to return home that very day. One neighbour who lived at the bottom of Lavender Hill, remembered the event vividly even though she was only nine years old at the time.
“There was a blinding blue flash and an enormous explosion. Glass came flying in and bits of ceiling came down on our bed. In our night clothes we stood on the landing screaming until dad came to carry us down. He had just got up and was about to wash and dress when the kitchen window blew in. He jumped into the cupboard under the stairs and escaped injury. My mother and sister Chris were saved by the sofa in the front of the window and the curtains which had been drawn. It had been snowing and it was very cold. My father rushed out and helped to rescue people buried in the rubble.
Dolly Nichols was in the Anderson shelter when her home collapsed around her. Her husband, also home on leave, was coming in with a bucket of coal and was saved from serious injury by a door coming off its hinges and resting over his head. He and his family waited while the heavy rescue squad pulled them out of the rubble. My father rescued young Willy Nichols and my mother was on hand with what Dolly described as the best cup of tea she had ever tasted.”
Today the site of the Gordon Hill bomb can easily be seen where several later houses replace a gap in the Victorian property.
Top: Aftermath at Gordon Hill (Image: Enfield Local Studies Libray and Archives). Bottom: Bomb Map showing location of V2 hit (Image: J.Robinson).