January 4, 1945

Thursday

Wayne wrote nothing in his Journal for this day.

In England, Verne wrote in his diary:

01-04-45

Up at ten a.m. this a.m. and found out a three day pass was waiting. Set out for London at 1 p.m. Arrived there at four p.m. V-2 rocket exploded a mile away as I stepped out of the station. Got a bed at the Hans Crescent Club at Knightsbridge Red Cross.2 Danced twice.

London about 90 miles from Station 153, about three hours by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) whose trains ran close to schedule.2 Kings Cross Station at the junction of Euston Road and York Way was a London terminus for the LNER.

On January 4, 1945 at 4:07 p.m., a V-2 impacted near the Dalston Library on Forest Road in Hackney. The rocket had been fired from either Loosduinen or from Scheveningse Bosjes in The Netherlands.3 The library, a workshop and nine other properties were demolished, 15 people were killed, and 27 seriously injured. Many of the dead were children who were in the library after school.4

Notes & Commentary

1 United States and Albert E. Milliken. The story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H). [New York]: Priv. Print., 1947. p. 285.

2 The Hans Crescent Club was a Knightsbridge hotel, the Hans Crescent Hotel, that was leased by the American Red Cross during World War II. Beds as well as meals and entertainment were available there for G.I.s visiting London.

3 “Timeline for V-2 attacks, 1944-45”, V2ROCKET.COM. (http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/timeline.html : accessed 30 December 2014).

4 “Dalston Library V2 strike – Jan 1945.” silentcacophony.co.uk. (http://www.silentcacophony.co.uk/#!Dalston-Library-V2-strike-Jan-1945/c1rme/BCF28C56-8B3A-46A8-A1EB-8274093D8DEC : accessed 30 December 1945)

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4 Responses to January 4, 1945

  1. suchled says:

    It doesn’t matter whose side you are on, “The library, a workshop and nine other properties were demolished, 15 people were killed, and 27 seriously injured. Many of the dead were children who were in the library after school.” It’s like a preview of Israel and Gaza.

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  2. Even with a much deserved R & R, there’s danger. I am confused about the V2 Rocket shot from the Netherlands and why it landed at a London library. Who and why?

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    • a gray says:

      The V-2 fired from The Netherlands (Holland) was launched by the Germans and that it struck a library was purely a random event.

      Flying with the 8th Air Force, Wayne’s brother, Verne, experienced a far different war than did Wayne in the South Pacific with the 13th Air Force. Each experienced vastly different array of living conditions and dangers. Wayne, for example, never experienced ballistic missile attacks.

      Beginning on September 6, 1944 and finally ending on March 28, 1945 at least 2, 172 V-2 rockets — in Cold War parlance “Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles” (IRBM) — were launched by the Germans against Allied cities. These missiles were similar to today’s SCUDs. The V-2s were unguided. They carried about 2,000 lb, high explosive warhead, and traveling faster than the speed of sound, they arrived without warning. They were destructive and deadly.

      London, over a period of 200 days, was hit by at least 1,358 V-2 rockets that arrived without warning and caused heavy destruction and death. Anyone visiting or living in London could have been a victim of a V-2. I have often wondered what servicemen living in or visiting London in those days thought.

      By the end of the V-2 campaign the Germans had launched about 3,172 V-2s.

      Belgium
      Antwerp —— 1,610
      Luttich —— 27
      Hasselt —— 13
      Tournai —— 9
      Mons —— 3
      Diest —— 2
      France
      Lille —— 25
      Paris —— 22
      Tourcoing —— 19
      Arras —— 6
      Cambrai —— 4
      England
      London —— 1,358
      Norwich/Ipswich —— 44
      Germany
      Remagen —— 11
      Holland
      Maastricht —— 19

      A time line for these launches can be found at http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/timeline.html.

      Coincidentally, “World War II Today”, http://ww2today.com/4-january-1945-v2-rockets-bring-sudden-death-to-london, carries information regarding V2 attacks on London on January 4, 1945. I wish I had had their posting available several days ago. It would have saved me a lot of research time.

      I have difficulty imagining how people lived under these attacks, especially in London and Antwerp. Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” uses them as a theme, but the book, of course, is fiction. It does, though, provide a sense of the hysteria the attacks must have prompted.

      January 4th’s entry in “War and peace and the price of cat-fish”, http://myunclefred.blogspot.com/2015/01/4th-jan-1945-addies-hop-up-loud-flying.html contains references, “Loud rocket in NW at 4:15 p.m.”, which match the impacts of V-2’s. This is probably the same explosion heard by Verne when he walked out of the train station. By following “War and peace and the price of cat-fish”, one can get a sense of life ongoing during the V-1 and V-2 attacks.

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